Mandate and Responsibilities

The Sign Variance Committee is a city board that hears appeals of the Chief Building Official’s decisions on variance applications for first party signs and makes decisions on variance applications for third party signs.

The Sign Variance Committee conducts itself in accordance with a procedures by-law and is also governed by the provisions of Toronto’s Municipal Code, Chapter 694 – Signs, General.

In addition to participating as a member of the Sign Variance Committee, the Chair is responsible for:

  • ensuring fair and timely public meetings; and
  • addressing matters concerning the operation and conduct of the members.

Members must attend an orientation and training program.

Board Size and Composition

The Sign Variance Committee consists of 5 citizen members.


City Council appoints the Chair of the Sign Variance Committee.

Eligibility Requirements

Citizens are eligible for appointment, and eligible to remain on the Sign Variance Committee after being appointed, if they satisfy the eligibility requirements for appointment as set out in the City’s Public Appointments Policy.

A member cannot act as an agent for parties before the Sign Variance Committee.

Members are ineligible for appointment to the Sign Variance Committee if:

  • they are an owner, employee or agent of an advertising, communications or media relations agency;
  • they are an owner, employee or agent or of a business which owns, controls or has shares in a media outlet; or
  • they are a former Council Member who served in the immediately preceding term of Council.


Members should collectively bring the following skills and expertise to the Sign Variance Committee:

  • demonstrate a strong interest in the complexities and challenges of city building;
  • bring an understanding of the diverse neighbourhoods and communities across the city;
  • have knowledge in one or more areas of: law, planning, architecture, government, economic development, community development, land development, or citizen advocacy;
  • demonstrate decision-making, communication, and mediation skills to facilitate an open and fair meeting process; and
  • at least 3 members should have adjudication experience and 2 members should have public speaking and organization skills to be able to chair public meetings and maintain order in conflict situations.

Appointments Process – Citizen Members

Citizen members are recruited through an advertised recruitment process. The appointments process is conducted according to the policies and procedures in the City’s Public Appointments Policy.


Public hearings are generally scheduled every 4 weeks depending on the application volume.


Citizen Chair:  $750 annually plus $250 per hearing attended.

Citizen Members:  $250 per hearing attended.