The Noise Bylaw provides standards for noise in Toronto. This includes decibel limits and time restrictions for some types of noise.

Toronto is a growing, vibrant city, where noise can be common. We encourage residents to exercise a reasonable degree of tolerance and to review the bylaw regulations by type of noise (found below) prior to submitting a service request.

Individuals can apply for a noise exemption to work outside of the permitted hours as long as they meet the application requirement. Learn more about the noise exemption process.

Government work, bells, sirens or work needed to respond to an emergency are exempt from the Noise Bylaw.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, provincial regulations have placed certain limitations on the City’s authority to enforce the bylaw. More information is provided below.

More details can be found by viewing Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 591, Noise.

Amplified sound (for example, music from bars or concerts)

Noise will be measured by Bylaw Enforcement Officers using sound meters. Measurement will be taken by trained staff from the point where the noise is heard and compared against the standards as identified in the bylaw. Ambient (background noise) will be taken into consideration when conducting measurements.

Amplified sound is not permitted by busker permit holders or on sidewalk cafés (unless the permit holder has obtained a street event permit under the Use of Streets and Sidewalks Bylaw).

Under the provincial Reopening Ontario Act, 2020, bars, restaurants and retailers (when permitted to be open) are currently restricted from playing music at a decibel level that exceeds the level at which normal conversation is possible.

Recognizing that during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are gathering limits for religious services and one’s spiritual, emotional, and mental well-being is important during these difficult times, mosques may broadcast calls to prayer during the month of Ramadan and the City will not request a noise exemption permit. Complaints submitted to 311 will be handled by the Noise Team on a case-by-case basis and the City will work with the mosque to resolve any issues.

Animals

Persistent noise from any animal is not permitted. Examples include persistent barking, calling or whining. These complaints are enforced by Toronto Animal Services.

Construction

The Government of Ontario passed Ontario Regulation 130/20 under the City of Toronto Act, 2006 that limits the City’s ability to prohibit and regulate certain construction noise. Under the provincial regulations, noise made in connection with construction projects and services associated with the healthcare sector, including new facilities, expansions, renovations and conversion of spaces that could be repurposed for health care space is permitted 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Noise made in connection with any other construction activity is permitted between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., seven days a week.  The provincial regulations are in effect until October 7, 2021.

Loading and unloading

Noise is not permitted from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. the next day, except until 9 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays. This includes noise from loading, unloading, delivering, packing, unpacking and otherwise handling any containers, products or materials.

Some loading and unloading, such as solid waste collection in dense areas of the city, is completed overnight for public safety reasons. Residents are encouraged to exercise a degree of tolerance, before submitting a service request.

As part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the provincial government has passed Ontario Regulation 71/20 that limits the City’s ability to prohibit and regulate noise made in connection with the delivery of goods. This is in effect until September 19, 2021.

Motor vehicles

Clearly audible noise from vehicle repairs, rebuilding, modifying or testing:

  • Is not permitted from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. the next day, except until 9 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays

Motorcycle noise:

  • Cannot exceed the approved standards
  • Will be measured by Bylaw Enforcement Officers using sound meters.

Unnecessary noise (for example,  engine revving and tire squealing)

  • Unnecessary noise that is clearly audible at point of reception is not permitted.

Bylaw Enforcement Officers do not have the authority to pull over moving vehicles and certain bylaw provisions  exist only to allow for enforcement during joint traffic blitzes with Toronto Police. Traffic blitzes are often conducted over a short period of time (one or more weekends), at strategic locations targeting specific traffic violations.

Data from noise complaints is crucial for the planning of enforcement initiatives with Toronto Police. Please call 311 to submit all noise complaints, including motor vehicle noise complaints, so that the complaint data can be used to inform enforcement.

Power devices (for example, leaf blowers, chain saw, lawn mowers and grass trimmers)

Noise is not permitted from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. the next day, except until 9 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays. These rules do not apply to devices used to maintain golf courses or public parks and to snow removal devices.

Religious ceremony in a place of worship

Sound cannot disturb a religious ceremony in a place of worship.

Stationary sources and residential air conditioners

Will be measured by Bylaw Enforcement Officers using sound meter.

Unreasonable and persistent noise

Noise not covered in one of the above categories cannot be unreasonable and persistent.

Please note that the Municipal Licensing & Standards Division does not respond to demonstrations, noisy parties or noise from people acting disorderly, such as yelling, screaming and fighting. To report these types of noise, call the Toronto Police Service non-emergency number at 416-808-2222. For emergencies, call 911.

If you have a concern, consider speaking with those responsible for making the noise to give them an opportunity to correct the issue.

If this approach does not work, you can call 311 or submit a service request online.

Please note that the Municipal Licensing & Standards Division does not respond to demonstrations, noisy parties or noise from people acting disorderly, such as yelling, screaming and fighting. To report these types of noise, call the Toronto Police Service non-emergency number at 416-808-2222. For emergencies, call 911.

Our goal is to resolve the issue and achieve compliance with the bylaw.

An Officer from the Municipal Licensing & Standards Division will be assigned to respond to your request and will contact you according to the assessed priority of the service request.

Noise service requests are prioritized so that the City can respond to high priority requests most effectively and adopt alternative approaches for those that are assessed as a lower priority.

If there is a possible noise bylaw violation, the Officer may conduct an investigation, which could include education, referral to mediation, and/or enforcement actions.

In the event that legal action is necessary, you may be asked to provide a witness statement and give evidence in court.

The City has partnered with St. Stephen’s Community House and Warden Woods Community Centre, organizations that provide free community mediation services to Toronto residents, as an alternative means to resolving a dispute with the help of neutral mediators.

Mediation can help deliver better service, divert some cases from bylaw enforcement, and get to the root cause of long-standing community or neighbour-to-neighbour issues. The process is separate from bylaw enforcement and completely confidential.

Residents may seek resolution to their issue using mediation services directly to St. Stephen’s Community House and Warden Woods Community Centre.

St. Stephen’s Community House, Conflict Resolution & Training
1415 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON
416-925-2103 ext. 1229
crt.intake@sschto.ca

Warden Woods Community Centre, Conflict Resolution Services
64 Fir Valley Drive, Scarborough, ON
416-694-1138  ext. 127
nancyh@wardenwoods.com