The Ontario Regulation 130/20 for construction noise expired on October 7, 2021. Learn more about the changes to construction noise regulations under Bylaw Regulations by Type of Noise.

 

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.

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 on private patios, on sidewalk cafés or by busker permit holders (unless the permit holder has obtained a street event permit under the Use of Streets and Sidewalks Bylaw).

Learn more about the regulations for CaféTO patios and the CaféTO Live Music Pilot for Wards 9, 14, 19.

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

Effective October 7, 2021, construction noise is not be permitted from:

  • 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. the next day, except until 9 a.m. on Saturdays
  • All day Sunday and statutory holidays

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the provincial government introduced Ontario Regulation 130/20, which limited the City’s ability to prohibit and regulate construction noise. Under the regulation 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, was permitted 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Noise from other construction activity was permitted from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. This regulation expired on October 7, 2021 and the construction noise regulations set out in the Noise Bylaw applies again.

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 COVID-19 recovery plan, the provincial government has limited the City’s ability to prohibit and regulate noise made in connection with the delivery of goods to retail business establishments, restaurants, hotels and motels, and goods distribution centres.

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 Services. 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 Services. Please contact 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

Stationary sound is made by sources that do not move, such as residential air conditioners, heat pumps, generators and fans. Measurements are taken by Bylaw Enforcement Officers using a sound meter and compared against the standards identified in the bylaw.

Stationary sound (or combination of sounds) can also be made by industrial facilities. This type of sound is regulated by and may require a permit from the provincial government. For concerns regarding industrial noise please contact your local Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change office.

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.

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

Residents can contact 311 to submit a noise complaint. 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 residents and business are following bylaws. 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, a referral to mediation services, or further enforcement action is required.

If a resident or business does not comply with the Noise 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 they 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
Emit, cause or permit amplified sound exceeding permitted level at outdoor point of reception. 591-2.1A $500.00
Emit, cause or permit amplified sound exceeding permitted level at indoor point of reception. 591-2.1B $500.00
Cause or permit persistent noise by an animal. 591-2.2 $500.00
Emit, cause or permit sound from construction equipment or construction activity during prohibited time period. 591-2.3 $500.00
Emit, cause or permit sound from loading or unloading during prohibited time period. 591-2.4 $500.00
Emit, cause or permit sound from unnecessary motor vehicle noise audible at point of reception. 591-2.5A $500.00
Emit, cause or permit sound from repairing, rebuilding, modifying, or testing a vehicle audible at point of reception during prohibited time period. 591-2.5B $500.00
Emit, cause or permit sound from a motorcycle exceeding the permitted level. 591-2.5C $500.00
Emit, cause or permit sound from a power device during prohibited time period. 591-2.6A $500.00
Make, cause or permit sound that disturbs a religious ceremony. 591-2.7 $500.00
Cause, permit sound from a stationary source or residential air conditioner that exceeds permitted level at point of reception. 591-2.8A $500.00
Make, cause or permit noise that is unreasonable and persistent. 591-2.9A $500.00
Fail to comply with an exemption permit. 591-4.1B $700.00