Thursday, 14 December 2017 07:09

City of Toronto Sign By-law Information

A couple of pieces of business for today.  First, just a reminder to please fully clear the snow and ice in front of your businesses and please salt.  We've had a couple of complaints about slipping and falling in the past couple of days.

Secondly, below is an email from the City's Sign By-law/Permit department.  I encourage you to please read through the information to ensure that you're in compliance with the City's rules on signage.  One of the big issues is A-frame or Sandwich Board signs.  You must have a permit to display one of these signs in front of your business.  In addition to the permit, the sign can't be placed anywhere but in front of your business - so not a few doors down from your business, not across the street from your business.  These signs also need to be weighted down so they don't fall over in the wind and end up lying on the sidewalk, getting covered in snow, and then becoming a tripping hazard.

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In 2010, Toronto City Council passed a Sign By-law to regulate signs in Toronto. The Sign By-law strives to achieve a balance between the need to advertise and identify businesses and services, the health and safety of citizens and the goal to keep Toronto free of excessive sign clutter.

Signs typically fall within two categories: First Party (which identify a business or service located on the property) and Third Party (which advertise goods or services not found at or related to the property, e.g. a billboard). The Sign By-law is administered and enforced by the Sign By-Law Unit, located at City Hall.

If you want to display a sign for your business, a sign permit is required in most cases. To check if your proposed sign needs a permit or to find information on how to apply for one, please contact the Sign By-law Unit or visit the links below.

There are many types of signs which the Sign By-law allows, such as wall signs, ground signs, or projecting signs. However, there are some signs that are not permitted by the Sign By-law, including:

  • A sign attached to a tree, fence, or railing;
  • A sign on a parked vehicle or trailer;
  • A sign attached to any electrical, lighting or telephone post;
  • Signs which move, such as promotional flags or banners, and;
  • Signs on exterior walls or in windows that display copy electronically (e.g. LED displays or TV screens / monitors)

Businesses displaying signs that do not comply with the Sign By-law may be subject to enforcement measures which could include being charged with a Provincial Offence (and associated fines ranging from $305 per sign up to a maximum of $100,000) and/or the removal of the signs at the owner's expense.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to Sign By-law Unit staff, please contact us during regular office hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.Monday to Friday.

Sign By-law Unit
Toronto City Hall, first floor, East Tower
100 Queen Street West
Phone: 416-392-8000
E-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Or visit: www.toronto.ca/signs

Related Links:

Submitting a Sign Application
Find out which forms, documents, and drawings are required to submit an application.

General Sign Inquiries
Find answers to the most commonly asked questions about signs in Toronto.

Sign-Related Fees
Review the fees associated with each type of sign application

Sign Complaints and Compliments
Find out how to make a complaint about a sign or service.

Sign Inspections
Learn about when an inspection is required and how to arrange one.

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