Policy, Research, Public Consultation and Events

Consultation Presentation - Election Signs

This page is a web-version of the presentation delivered at the public consultation on Election Signs delivered on July 16, 2014.  Download the PDF version of the presentation.

Agenda 

  • Meeting purpose
  • Current review
  • Issues
  • Comparison of current provisions and proposed by-law amendments
  • Discussion of proposed by-law amendments

Meeting Purpose

 The purpose of this meeting is:

  • To provide information on changes the City is considering with respect to Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 693, Article II, Election Signs
  • To solicit feedback on the proposed changes and any other considerations to be taken into account in our review.

 Changes are being proposed to:

  • address issues raised by Municipal Licensing & Standards, City Clerk’s Office, and Legal Services’ staff, based on our experiences in previous elections
  • address issues raised by the Ombudsman and the Auditor General
  • respond to direction from Licensing & Standards Committee at its May 26, 2014 meeting, which requested staff to review the City's existing election sign by-law and report back to the August 18, 2014 Licensing & Standards Committee meeting on any recommended changes
  • eliminate ‘red tape’, simplify, clarify and streamline the regulations governing election signs

Current Review

 The review of the Election Signs by-law is proceeding in three phases:

Phase 1: Research and Analysis – June to July 2014

Phase 2: Stakeholder Consultation – July 16, 2014

Phase 3: Report – August 18, 2014 Licensing & Standards Committee

Issues 

  • Regulations in the by-law regarding where election signs may be placed require clarification
  • Significant staff time and expenses incurred to administer (collect election sign deposits, assess fees, and attempt to collect monies owed to the City) and enforce the by-law, often only to refund/waive the amounts charged to candidates
  • Appropriateness of the waiver of fees/affidavits process: some candidates are simply relying on the printed wording of the standard affidavit form to have their fees waived despite significant City resources spent for administration and enforcement

(raised previously by the Auditor General and the Ombudsman)

 Current vs. Proposed 

Time Period for when Election Signs may be Erected/Displayed

Current

Election signs:

  • may not be erected/displayed for a federal or provincial election until the day the writ of election is issued, and for a municipal election until 25 days prior to voting day
  • must be removed within 72 hours after the completion of voting on election day

 

Proposed

  • Reduce and standardize the period for which election signs may be erected/displayed for federal, provincial and municipal elections to 21 days prior to election day, and where the 21 days prior to voting day is a date of cultural or religious significance, election signs shall not be erected/displayed until the next day after

 

Placement of Election Signs

Current

All election signs:

  • must be no larger than 1.2 square metres in area and no higher than 2 metres above ground level (except on campaign offices, and indoors in buildings on private property, signs are allowed to be displayed higher than 2 metres)
  • must not interfere with the safe operation of vehicular traffic and the safety of pedestrians

 

Placement of Election Signs - Private Property

Current

On private property, election signs:

  • must be erected/displayed with the consent of the owner or occupant of the property
  • may be displayed on an illuminated billboard, provided that it has been installed under the authority of a permit issued under the applicable sign by-law
  • Directional signs may be erected to identify the location of a campaign office, provided that they are not designated/intended to be election signs and are in compliance with all applicable by-laws

 

Placement of Election Signs - Public Property

Current 

  • On public property, election signs may be erected/displayed on a highway, a public utility pole, bus shelter, municipal garbage container located on a highway, and on TTC dedicated advertising space, but, must not be:
  • within 1.5 metres of a curb or the edge of pavement on highways without sidewalks/between the curb and sidewalk on highways with sidewalks
  • within 15 metres of an intersection or pedestrian crossover
  • on a median or island installed on a highway
  • adjacent to a voting place, City park or facility
  • erected/displayed without the consent of the owner or occupant of the abutting property
  • illuminated or attached to trees

 

Proposed 

  • Clarify and strengthen the language in the by-law around the requirement that all election signs erected/displayed shall not obstruct visibility, block sightlines, etc.

 

Private Property 

  • Prohibit the erection/display of directional signs
  • Create a definition of a Campaign Office Sign, such that it solely identifies the location of the office, not electioneering for the candidate
  • Permit the erection/display of campaign office signs commencing from the day the writ of election is issued for federal, provincial and municipal elections

 

Public Property 

  • Add regulations for signs placed on street furniture dedicated advertising spaces, so they are permitted under the terms and conditions of any agreement between the City or Astral Media, and a candidate/an agent of a candidate

 

Election Sign Deposit

Current 

  • Each candidate that intends to place election signs on public property is required to pay the City an election sign deposit of $250, which is refundable subject to any deductions made for removal and storage charges for contravening the by-law

Proposed 

  • Replace the refundable $250 election sign deposit with a $250 non-refundable election sign permit fee, required for all candidates that intend to place election signs on public and/or private property; the fee will be used to off-set the City’s costs for administering and enforcing the by-law.

 

Fees for Removal and Storage for Unlawfully Erected/Displayed Election Signs

Current

  • Election signs may be immediately removed by the City, without notice, and the candidate to whom the election sign relates, is assessed fees:
    • $25 per sign for removal
    • $2 per sign per day or part thereof, or $0.50 per square metre of sign face area per day or part thereof, whichever is greater, for storage
  • Fees charged are deducted from a candidate’s election sign deposit, and where theCity’s costs for removal/storage exceed the election sign deposit paid, or where no deposit was paid, the candidate is required to pay the balance owing within 30 days of the election date

Unpaid fees may be recovered by the City through legal action or in like manner as municipal taxes. 

Proposed 

  • Delete and no longer assess the current fees for removal and for storage for signs removed by the City during an election period
  • Assess a per-sign fee of $25, for signs removed by the City after 72 hours after the completion of voting on election day

 

Waiver of Fees/Affidavit Process

Current 

  • Fees charged to a candidate will be waived if, within 30 days from receiving a ‘notice of fees due’ from the City, the candidate provides a sworn statement to the City Clerk indicating that neither the candidate nor, to the best of the candidate’s knowledge, any person acting on his/her behalf was responsible for the unlawful erection/display of the election sign

Proposed 

  • Delete the waiver of fees/affidavits process

 

Storage, Retrieval and Disposal of Unlawfully Erected/Displayed Election Signs

Current 

  • Election signs are stored for a minimum of 30 days; the candidate or his/her agent may retrieve the sign by paying any amounts owing to the City and providing the City with a signed acknowledgement and release
  • Election signs stored for over 30 days, may be destroyed/disposed of, without notice and without compensation to the owner of the sign
  • The City is not obligated to store election signs made entirely of paper or other lightweight material and may destroy/dispose of these signs immediately after removal

Proposed 

  • Reduce the timeframe for which the City stores election signs to 72 hours after the completion of voting on election day
  • Provide prompter notification to candidates of election signs removed (i.e. after seizure and during the election period) and allow retrieval; any signs not retrieved 72 hours after election day will be recycled

 

Payment Methods

Current 

  • Only cash, certified cheque, or money order, are accepted forms of payment for election sign deposits and/or any other debts/fees that are owed to the City for storage and removal charges.

 

Proposed 

  • Add debit and credit card payment options as permitted methods of payment for election sign permits and/or any other debts/fees that are owed to the City for storage and removal charges.

 

Comments? 

Contact Information

Intiaz Ruffudeen

Manager, Policy and Planning

Telephone: 416-338-3478

Email: iruffude@toronto.ca 

 

Lorraine Chua

Senior Policy & Research Officer

Telephone: 416-338-3594

Email: lchua@toronto.ca 

 

City of Toronto, Municipal Licensing & Standards

City Hall, 100 Queen St. W,

West Tower, 16th Floor, 

Toronto, ON, M5H 2N2

Website: www.toronto.ca\mlshaveyoursay