City of Toronto

Election Signs

A candidate wishing to post election signs should be aware of City of Toronto rules outlining what is permissible.  This site provides information and links about the Municipal Code, deposit form, waiver, enforcement and set fines.  The photo guide provides examples of the most common infractions on public property.

The City's Municipal Licensing and Standards' division is responsible for enforcement and set fines. Call 311 for questions or concerns about election signs.

Definitions:

Election Sign

'Elections sign' are defined as any sign:

  • Advertising or promoting a candidate in a federal, provincial or municipal election, including an election of a local board or commission; or
  • Intended to influence a person to vote for or against any candidate or any questions or by-law submitted to the electors under section 8 of the Municipal Elections Act, 1996.

 

Campaign Office

A building or portion of a building that is used by a candidate or an agent of a candidate as part of an election campaign, and where a candidate's campaign staff are normally present and the public may enter to obtain information regarding the candidate.

Directional Signs / Campaign Offices

  • A candidate or an agent of a candidate may erect directional signs to identify the location of a campaign office provided that the directional signs are not designed or intended to be election signs and provided that the directional signs comply with all applicable by-laws.
  • Signage that only identifies a candidate's name and campaign office location will likely be permissible. However, signage containing the following words "elect", "Candidate for" and any other wording that promotes or takes a position would not be permissible.

Highway

The definition of 'highway' is the roadway which includes any sidewalk, public boulevard, bridge, trestle, viaduct or other structure forming part of or located on the roadway and includes a portion of the roadway.

Overview of election sign rules

To learn about election sign rules, candidates should review Chapter 693 of the City of Toronto Municipal Code in its entirety. The following overview is provided for convenience only.

Election signs

City of Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 693, Article II

 

Rules

The City of Toronto Municipal Code outlines rules regarding election signs that federal, provincial or municipal candidates must observe for all elections including:

  • Election signs may not be illuminated or attached to trees and are prohibited on all City property (including parks, community and civic centres, etc.) except certain portions of the public highway.
  • In the case of municipal candidates, election signs on campaign offices can be erected 90 days prior to election day and election signs elsewhere can be erected 25 days prior to election day. 
  • For federal or provincial candidates, election signs can be erected the day the writ of election is issued.
  • The City is not required to give notice for the removal of an unlawful election sign.
  • No person shall deface or willfully cause damage to a lawfully erected election sign.
  • No person shall display the City's logo, in whole or in part, on an election sign.

These rules are under the jurisdiction of and are enforced by the City's Municipal Licensing and Standards' division. If a candidate has any questions or concerns regarding elections signs, or wishes to report an infraction they must contact 311.

Sign deposit

Candidates wishing to place signs on allowable public property must complete the Election Sign Deposit form, pay a $250 sign deposit by cash, certified cheque or money order (payable to Treasurer, City of Toronto) and submit the form and money to Election Services at City Hall or 89 Northline Road, Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, excluding statutory holidays.

No deposit is required to place signs on private property.

Timing (municipal candidates)

  • Election signs erected on campaign offices:
    • May be erected 90 days prior to election day. Mayoralty candidates may have election signs in no more than four campaign offices across the city
    • Councillor and trustee candidates may only have election signs on one campaign office in the ward where they are running
    • Signs used to identify the location of a campaign office are permitted provided these signs are not election signs
  • Election signs
    • May not be posted until 25 days prior to election day and must be removed within three days of election day
  • Recycling signs
    • Municipal Licensing and Standards will notify candidates after election day of where election signs can be recycled

Timing (federal or provincial candidates)

Signs on campaign offices and election signs can be erected the day the writ of election is issued.

Signs

 

With the exception of billboards and election signs on campaign offices, election signs may not exceed 1.2 square metres (12.92 square feet) in total sign face area and cannot be higher than 2 metres above ground level.

Public property

City of Toronto Municipal Code defines public property as property owned by or under the control of the City of Toronto including highways, public utility poles, bus shelters, municipal garbage containers or other structures.

Election signs are not permitted anywhere on public property except on public highways subject to the following conditions:

  • Those highways upon which pedestrians are prohibited
  • Signs cannot be placed between the curb and the sidewalk
  • If there is no sidewalk, signs cannot be placed within 1.5 metres of the curb or edge of the pavement
  • Signs cannot be placed within 15 metres of an intersection or pedestrian crossover or be located on a median or island
  • Signs cannot interfere with the safe operation of vehicular traffic or with the safety of pedestrians
  • Signs cannot be located adjacent to a voting place or any City owned or operated property
  • The consent of the owner or occupant of the abutting property must be obtained

Private property

Election signs may be posted on private property subject to the following conditions:

  • Signs do not interfere with the safe operation of vehicular traffic or with the safety of pedestrians
  • Signs are posted with the consent of the owner or occupant of the property
  • Signs may be higher than 2 metres above ground level provided the signs are displayed indoors.

Placing election signs on TTC property

Council passed a by-law (#1160-2011) allowing the erection and display of election signs on property owned by or under the control of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).

If candidates are interested in erecting signs on TTC property, they must contact the TTC directly for prices.  Please note, the TTC is not permitted to give candidates a contribution in whole or in part.

Penalties

A $25 fee will be deducted from the election sign deposit for every illegal sign City staff removes from public property. 

If a candidate has not paid the deposit and places signs on public property, they will be invoiced the cost of removing all illegal signs.  Amounts owing may be recovered by legal action or added to the candidate's municipal taxes.

Any person who contravenes the City of Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 693, Article II is guilty of an offense and, upon conviction, is liable to a fine or penalty.

 


Back to: City of Toronto