The Fence Bylaw sets standards for fences in Toronto and includes rules for fence height, material, and structure. These rules vary depending on whether the fence is on residential or non-residential property, where the fence is located on the property and whether the fence encloses a pool.
If you have a swimming pool, you must have a swimming pool enclosure that completely surrounds the area around the pool. There can be no openings, except for a gate. You need a permit to install a swimming pool enclosure.
Property owners can request an exemption from their local Community Council if they would like to install a fence that does not comply with bylaw.
To submit a complaint about a fence, call 311 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For clarification on fence requirements, contact your local Municipal Licensing and Standards district office.
Property owners are encouraged to consult the Fence Bylaw for specific requirements and to ensure that their fences are fully compliant.
There are maximum fence heights depending on where the fence is located on the property, as well as if the fence is on a residential or non-residential property. There are also specific height maximums for hedges, shrubs and other vegetation that acts as a fence. Use Table 1 of the Fence Bylaw to determine the maximum height allowed for specific fences.
Fence height is measured by taking the average grade level, which is measured perpendicular to and one metre away on either side of the fence.
For safety reasons, all fences within 2.4 metres of a driveway must be of open-fence construction (for example, open mesh chain-link) for at least 2.4 metres from the lot line where the driveway begins. This applies to the fence or hedge, as well as vegetation growing on the fence and any objects placed on the fence. This rule ensures that the view of the boulevard or highway is not obstructed.
If a fence is used as a guard, it must comply with the Property Standards Bylaw. If the guard forms part of a swimming pool enclosure, it must also comply with the Fence Bylaw. In circumstances where more than one applies, the more restrictive rule applies.
Property owners are encouraged to consult the Fence Bylaw for specific requirements and to ensure that their pool enclosures are fully compliant.
A swimming pool is defined as anything on private property that can be used for swimming, wading, or bathing and is 60 cm (600 mm) deep or more at any point.
There are specific rules for swimming pool enclosures to protect the public from accidental drowning. These rules include requiring the pool to be entirely enclosed by fencing, prohibiting fencing that is climbable, and requiring gates to be self-closing and self-latching.
Property owners must first get a swimming pool enclosure permit before starting construction on their swimming pool enclosure.
Properties with a swimming pool must have a pool enclosure that completely encloses the area around the pool. This is sometimes referred to as a four-sided pool fence. For example, a fence is required between the rear door of a house and the pool so that the home does not open into the pool area.
The pool enclosure cannot have any openings, except for a gate that complies with the Fence Bylaw. The enclosure may be comprised of a fence, wall or other structure as long as there is no access to the pool area through the wall. Some examples of permitted and non-permitted pool enclosures are below.
A pool fence, including its gate(s), must:
When a pool fence separates a pool from a residential building on the same property, then the pool enclosure’s fence and gate must be constructed of:
A swimming pool can be filled with water once temporary fencing, complying with the requirements in the Fence Bylaw, has been installed. However, the pool may not be used until permanent fencing has been installed and an inspection has been completed. Contact 311 to book an inspection. If you use your pool before this inspection, you may face a fine.
The Fence Bylaw contains specific construction standards for various types of fences and gates used to enclose a pool. Some options include chain-link fencing (small gauge), wood fencing (either vertical or horizontal boards), a metal picket fence, a glass panel fence, and a masonry wall. Property owners should consult the bylaw for specific requirements for their fence type.
All swimming pool enclosure gates must meet specific standards outlined in the Fence Bylaw, including being supported on substantial hinges, being self-closing and self-latching, and being kept locked at all time except when the pool area is in use. Double gates must have a lockable drop bolt.
The City does not have a role in resolving disputes about the location or costs of boundary fences between properties.
Neighbours are encouraged to speak to each other about their boundary fences and to resolve any issues that occur. If they feel it is necessary, they may wish may wish to seek their own legal or other professional advice.
Note: The Line Fences Act, except for section 20 (lands formerly used as part of a line of railway) does not apply in Toronto. As a result, the City does not accept applications for line fence viewing.
The City has partnered with St. Stephen’s Community House, an organization that provides 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.
For clarification on fence requirements, contact your local Municipal Licensing and Standards district office. To determine which office serves your area, look up your address in the Ward Profiles. Otherwise, contact 311 for assistance.
433 Eastern Avenue, Building B, 1st Floor
Toronto, ON M4M 1B7
Wards: 4 Parkdale-High Park, 9 Davenport, 10 Spadina-Fort York, 11 University-Rosedale, 12 Toronto-St. Paul’s, 13 Toronto Centre, 14 Toronto-Danforth, 19 Beaches-East York
Etobicoke Civic Centre, 399 The West Mall, North Block, 3rd floor
Toronto, ON M9C 2Y2
Wards: 1 Etobicoke North, 2 Etobicoke Centre, 3 Etobicoke-Lakeshore, 5 York South-Weston, 6 York Centre, 7 Humber River-Black Creek, 8 Eglinton-Lawrence
1530 Markham Road, 3rd Floor
Toronto, ON M1B 3G2
Wards: 15 Don Valley West, 16 Don Valley East, 17 Don Valley North, 18 Willowdale, 20 Scarborough Southwest, 21 Scarborough Centre, 22 Scarborough-Agincourt, 23 Scarborough North, 24 Scarborough-Guildwood, 25 Scarborough-Rouge Park