In a city as large and vibrant as Toronto, certain levels of noise are reasonable and reflect life in a densely populated city. The Noise Bylaw balances the city’s vibrancy with the needs of residents and visitors, and provides time restrictions and sound level limits for various types of noise.
The City responds to persistent and recurring noise. Noise complaints are prioritized so that requests that are more frequent and impactful to residents can be responded to most effectively. As such, the City may not investigate an isolated or infrequent noise complaint. Bylaw enforcement officers are not emergency responders, do not respond to noise complaints on an emergency basis, and do not have the authority to immediately stop a noise event.
Before submitting a noise complaint, please learn more about the noise regulations and the types of complaints the City can respond to.
More details can be found by viewing Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 591, Noise. Government work, bells, sirens or work needed to respond to an emergency, and noise from waste collection are exempt from the Noise Bylaw.
Noise will be measured by bylaw enforcement officers using sound meters and compared against the standards as identified in the bylaw. Measurement will be taken by trained staff from the point where the noise is heard. 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.
Persistent noise from any animal is not permitted. Examples include persistent barking, calling or whining. These complaints are enforced by Toronto Animal Services.
Construction noise is not permitted from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. the next day, except until 9 a.m. on Saturdays, and all day Sunday and statutory holidays.
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. This does not apply to noise made in connection with the delivery of goods to retail business establishments, restaurants, hotels and motels, goods distribution centres, or to waste collection.
Unnecessary noise (for example, engine revving and tire squealing) that is clearly audible at point of reception is not permitted.
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 standard of 92 dB(A) from the exhaust while the motorcycle is at idle, which is measured by bylaw enforcement officers using sound meters.
Please note, 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 related to moving motor vehicle noise is crucial for the planning of enforcement initiatives with Toronto Police Services. Please contact 311 to submit all noise complaints so that the complaint data can be used to inform enforcement.
On weekdays, power device noise is not permitted from 7 p.m. until 8 a.m. the next day. On Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays, power device is not permitted from 7 p.m. to 9 a.m. the next day. These rules do not apply to devices used to maintain golf courses, public parks, or any City operations including services contracted by the City and to snow removal devices.
While tidy yards and gardens may be pleasant, the noise from leaf blowers can end up disturbing those nearby. Learn about the rules for using leaf blowers and avoid using it too early or too late. Yards can also be cleaned without using leaf blowers. If leaf blowers must be used, consider using green technologies and taking steps to reduce the noise and other impacts from devices.
Sound cannot disturb a religious ceremony in a place of worship.
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.
Noise not captured in the categories above, cannot be unreasonable and persistent. Unreasonable noise is any noise that would disturb the peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort or convenience of a reasonable person and does not include commonplace household or workplace sounds. Persistent noise is any noise that is continuously heard for 10 minutes or more or intermittently over a period of one hour or more.
Before submitting a complaint, we encourage residents to exercise a reasonable degree of tolerance and consider speaking with those responsible for making the noise to give them an opportunity to correct the issue. If applicable, follow-up with your landlord, condominium corporation or other entity that has the authority to resolve your noise concerns.
If this approach does not work, you can call 311 or submit a complaint online. If you are outside of Toronto and want to reach a 311 customer service representative, please call 416-392-CITY (2489).
The City does not respond directly to complaints about isolated events that are unlikely to recur or occur very infrequently, noise that is not in violation of the Noise Bylaw, or issues under the jurisdiction of another agency. Data from complaints of this nature will not lead to formal investigations but will instead be logged and/or referred to by other agencies.
Bylaw enforcement officers also do 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.
The goal is to resolve the issue and achieve compliance with the bylaw. A bylaw enforcement officer will be assigned to respond to your complaints and will contact you according to the assessed priority of the complaints.
Each issue is addressed on case-by-case basis to make sure reasonable, fair and appropriate actions are taken. If there is a possible noise bylaw violation, the officer may conduct an investigation, which could include education, 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.
Individuals and organizations can apply for a noise exemption permit for specific events or activities that may be in contravention of the Noise Bylaw if all application requirements are met. Learn more about the noise exemption process and how to apply for Noise Exemption Permits. Any holders of a Noise Exemption Permit must comply with its conditions.
The City has partnered with TNG Community Services, an organization that provides free voluntary 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 TNG Community Services.
TNG Community Services
For situations north of Eglinton Avenue
416-839-3425 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For situations south of Eglinton Avenue
416-827-5929 or email@example.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.
|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|
The Noise Bylaw was comprehensively reviewed between 2015 and 2019. To inform this review, a Noise Working Group was established, a technical review of the bylaw was conducted by a third-party engineering firm, public opinion research was carried out, and a series of public consultations were facilitated by a third-party facilitator.
When the amended bylaw came into effect in 2019, the City was directed to report back on implementation, success and outstanding issues a year after the bylaw was implemented. This report has been delayed as City resources were diverted to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and as the Province of Ontario introduced regulations to limit the City’s authority to regulate noise during the pandemic. The City will review the bylaw amendments in 2023, in order to provide sufficient time for a comprehensive review, broad public consultations, and the collection of complaints and charges data. More information about public consultations will be available once plans are finalized.
In 2022, a Report on Outstanding Noise Directives was adopted by City Council that responded to various City Council directives related to power device and motor vehicle noise.