Election signs advertise or promote candidates in federal, provincial, or municipal elections (including elections for local board or commissions). This includes signs, balloons, blimps, vehicle wraps, mobile signs on vehicles or trailers and bumper stickers intended to influence a person to vote for or against any candidate.
Election signs in Toronto must comply with the Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 693, Article II – Election Signs. The bylaw provides rules for election signs on private and public properties, outlines when election signs can be displayed and when they must be removed, and provides rules for campaign office signs.
Residents can contact 311 to report election signs that are in conflict with the bylaw.

 

As directed by City Council on September 30, 2020, the City is undertaking a review of the election sign rules to identify potential opportunities for further improvement of the bylaw.

The review is only considering election sign rules and does not include posters, temporary signs (for example, A-frame, open house, and mobile signs), and signs regulated under the Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 694, Signs, General. A report is expected at the Economic and Community Development Committee meeting in spring 2021.

Election signs cannot be larger than 1.2 square metres in area and higher than two metres above ground level, except:

  • on campaign offices
  • on TTC dedicated advertising spaces
  • on street installation dedicated advertising spaces
  • on third party advertising spaces (e.g., billboards)
  • when displayed indoors

Election signs cannot:

  • be illuminated (unless on advertising spaces mentioned above)
  • be attached to trees
  • obstruct visibility or block sightlines for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists
  • contain the City of Toronto logo

Election signs displayed indoors may be displayed at any height.

See guidelines on where to place election signs.

Fences

Election signs can be displayed on fences provided that the election sign is displayed with the consent of the owner/occupant of the property.

Private property

Election signs can be displayed on private property with the consent of the owner/occupant of the property.

Public property

Election signs can be displayed:

  • on streets/roads or public utility poles on streets/roads, provided that election signs are not displayed:
    • within 1.5 metres of the curb/edge of pavement
    • within 0.6 metres of either side of a sidewalk
    • within 15 metres of an intersection/pedestrian crossover of a collector or arterial road*
    • within 3 metres of an intersection/pedestrian crossover of a local road*
    • on a median or island
    • adjacent to a voting place, City park or a facility that is owned or operated by the City
    • without the consent of the owner/occupant of the abutting property
  • on bus shelters, garbage and recycling containers, and street installation dedicated advertising space (under agreement with the City or its Agencies, Boards, or Commissions)
  • on Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) dedicated advertising space (under agreement with TTC)
  • as sign copy on a third-party sign (in accordance with the applicable permit under Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 694, Signs, General)
  • on the surface of vehicles or trailers
    Election signs cannot be displayed on a median or island, adjacent to a voting place, or without the consent of the owner or occupant of the property beside the median.

*See the City of Toronto Road Classification System for clarification on collector, arterial and local roads

For municipal elections, election signs can be displayed 25 days prior to election day.

For provincial and federal elections, election signs can be displayed from the day the writ of election is issued.

When the day the writ of election is issued falls on a date of religious or cultural significance, election signs cannot be displayed until the following day.

Election signs must be removed 72 hours after the completion of voting on election day.

Removal of elections signs

Election signs displayed on private property must be removed by the owner/occupant of the property. The owner/occupant can also request removal/retrieval by the candidate or third party who provided them the election sign(s).

Election signs displayed on public property must be removed by the candidate or third party responsible for their display.

If the City removes an election sign, candidate will be notified via email, personal delivery, mail or fax, within 24 hours of a sign being removed. Signs can be retrieved at designated City facilities, during designated dates/times throughout the Election Sign Period (and for 72 hours after). Any signs not retrieved may be recycled, destroyed or disposed of by the City.

Disposal of election signs

Following an election period, the City offers election sign recycling services to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. A timeframe to bring signs to designated locations is communicated to all candidates.

Three types of election signs are accepted for recycling, along with wooden and metal stakes:

  • Corrugated plastic (i.e. Coroplast) signs
  • Fibre-based (paperboard) signs
  • Plastic film (i.e. “sleeve” style) signs

Outside of the designated timeframe immediately following an election, signs can be brought to some of the City’s Drop-off Depots where they will be disposed of as garbage. Fees may apply based on the size of the load and the type of material.

Fibre-based signs and plastic film signs can also be disposed of in the Blue Bin.

A campaign office sign is any sign that solely identifies the name of a candidate in a federal, provincial or municipal election and the location of a candidate’s campaign office, and contains no other message.

Campaign office signs may be displayed if it is part of a sign structure displayed in accordance with the requirements of Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 694, Signs, General or, in accordance with the applicable sign permit administered by Toronto Building.

Directional signs to indicate the location of a campaign office are prohibited.

Placement of campaign office signs

Campaign office signs may be displayed provided that regulations around placement of election signs are followed.

In the case of a candidate for the position of Councillor or Trustee, election signs are displayed at no more than one campaign office in the ward where the candidate is running for election.

In the case of a candidate for the position of Mayor, election signs are displayed at no more than four campaign offices.

An outsider election sign is any sign that has been displayed without the authorization, direction or involvement of a candidate.

Outsider election signs may be displayed on private property or public property, provided that:

  • the sign includes valid and up-to-date contact information for at least one individual responsible for the sign
  • the third-party advertiser has registered with the City Clerk.