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.

 

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
  • on windows and balconies

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.

Election signs must also display the name of the candidate in a manner that is clear and legible.

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. When displayed on private property, election signs cannot be placed less than one metre from other election signs without the consent of the owner/occupant of the property. Property owners can remove elections signs from their private properties, if the signs are displayed without their consent.

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
    • less than one metre from other elections signs 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

Candidates must remove election signs within 72 hours after an election. 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.

The City may remove elections signs that are in conflict with the bylaw. Candidates will be notified if signs are removed by the City and provided information on when and where the signs can be retrieved from. 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 at designated Drop-Off Depots 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

During the designated timeframe immediately following an election, signs can be brought to City Drop-off Depots for proper disposal.

There is no fee for dropping off separated clean corrugated plastic, paper fibre and plastic film election signs, associated supports and stakes for recycling.

Outside the designated timeframe immediately following an election, signs must be disposed of in the garbage.

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.

To report election signs that are in conflict with the bylaw, contact 311 and submit a service request. Residents must provide:

  • the name of the candidate or the third-party advertiser displaying the election sign
  • the address or location of the sign
  • description of specific landmarks if the address of the sign cannot be provided
  • the reason for the complaint

Residents can contact 311 to submit complaints about election signs. If there is a complaint or information about a possible violation, Bylaw Enforcement Officers investigate, educate and/or take enforcement actions.

The goal is to resolve issues and ensure that candidates and residents are following the bylaw. Each issue is addressed on case-by-case basis to make sure reasonable, fair and appropriate actions are taken. For example, in some cases the issue may be resolved through education. In other cases, further enforcement action is required.

If candidates and residents do not comply with the bylaw, they are guilty of an offence. If they are issued a ticket and convicted, they may have to pay a fine for the offence set out in the table below.

If candidates and residents are issued a summons to court and convicted, they may have to pay a fine up to $100,000 or a daily fine of up to $10,000 for each day the violation continues. In addition they may have to pay a special fine for economic gains from the bylaw violation. If it is a corporation, every director or officer may have to pay a fine of no more than $100,000.

Offence Bylaw Provision Fine
Display an election sign that is not in compliance with Article II 693-6A $200.00
Display an election sign that cannot be readily moved 693-6B $200.00
Display an election sign that interferes with/damages above/belowground services 693-6C $300.00
Display an election sign that obstructs the City from entering a highway 693-6D $200.00
Display an election sign that interferes with the safety of vehicles/cyclists/pedestrians 693-6E $300.00
Display an election sign on public property that obstructs visibility/blocks sightlines 693-6F $300.00
Display an election sign that is attached to a tree 693-6G $200.00
Display an election sign that is animated/illuminated/emits sound or moves 693-6H $200.00
Display an election sign that does not include the candidate name/contact information 693-6I $200.00
Display an election sign that has been ordered removed 693-6J $200.00
Display an election sign that displays the City logo/crest/seal 693-6K $200.00
Display an election sign on public property on the median/travelled portion of a highway 693-7A(1)(a) $200.00
Display an election sign on public property on a traffic signal/traffic control device 693-7A(1)(b) $200.00
Display an election on public property sign larger than 1.2 square metres 693-7A(1)(c) $200.00
Display an election sign on public property higher than 2 metres above ground level 693-7A(1)(c) $200.00
Display an election sign on public property within 1.5 metres of a curb/pavement edge 693-7A(1)(d) $200.00
Display an election sign on public property within 0.6 metres of a sidewalk 693-7A(1)(e) $200.00
Display an election sign on public property within 15 metres of an intersection/pedestrian crossover of an arterial/collector road 693-7A(1)(f) $200.00
Display an election sign on public prope1ty within 3 metres of an intersection/pedestrian crossover of a local road 693-7A(1)(f) $200.00
Display an election sign on public property on/adjacent to a voting place/City park/City facility 693-7A(1)(g) $200.00
Display an election sign on public property without the consent of the owner/occupant of an abutting property 693-7A(1)(h) $200.00
Display an election sign on public property on a structure without an agreement/contrary to an agreement 693-7A(2)(a) $200.00
Display an election sign on public property on a structure on/adjacent to a voting place/City park/City facility 693-7A(2)(b) $200.00
Display an election sign on public property on TTC advertising space without an agreement/contrary to an agreement 693-7A(3)(a) $200.00
Display an election sign on public property on TTC vehicle advertising space without an agreement/contrary to an agreement 693-7A(3)(b) $200.00
Display an election sign on public property on street installation dedicated advertising space without an agreement/contrary to an agreement 693-7A(4) $200.00
Display an election sign on public property on a third party sign not in accordance other applicable sign by-laws 693-7A(5)(a) $200.00
Display an election sign on public property on a third party sign on/adjacent to a voting place 693-7A(5)(b) $200.00
Display an election sign on public property on a vehicle/trailer that is parked/stopped/standing or adjacent to a voting place/City park/City facility 693-7A(6) $200.00
Display an outsider election sign on public property not in compliance with the requirements for election signs 693-7B(1) $200.00
Display an outsider election sign on public property without registering as a third party advertiser 693-7B(2) $200.00
Display an election sign on private property larger than 1.2 square metres 693-8A(1) $200.00
Display an election sign on private property higher than 2 metres above ground level 693-8A(2) $200.00
Display an election sign on private property without the consent of the owner/occupant 693-8A(3) $200.00
Display an election sign on private property on a third party sign not in accordance other applicable sign bylaws 693-8A(4) $200.00
Display an outsider election sign on private property not in compliance with the requirements for election signs 693-8B(1) $200.00
Display an outsider election sign on private property without registering as a third party advertiser 693-8B(2) $200.00
Display an election sign/outsider election sign for a federal/provincial election before the writ is issued 693-9A(1) $200.00
Display an election sign/outsider election sign for a municipal election more than 25 days prior to voting day 693-9A(2) $200.00
Councillor/Trustee candidate display an election sign on more than one campaign office 693-9C(1) $200.00
Mayor candidate display an election sign on more than four campaign offices 693-9C(2) $200.00
Fail to remove an election sign/outsider election sign within 72 hours after voting day 693-9D $200.00
Display a campaign office sign not in accordance with applicable sign bylaws 693-10 $200.00
Remove/alter/cause damage to a lawfully displayed election sign/outsider election sign 693-11 $200.00