As the Toronto election heats up before the Oct. 22 vote, candidates’ campaigns are increasingly installing signs across the city.
Under the city of Toronto’s bylaws, election signs were allowed to be installed as of Sept. 27. However, municipal staff said they typically receive two common complaints once signs start going up.
“Whether it’s too close to the roadway (or) too close to a sidewalk, those are generally the most common violations we have,” Mark Sraga, director of investigation services with Toronto’s municipal licensing and standards division, told Global News, adding there are clear distance requirements for both.
Toronto election: Who’s running for council, and how, where and when to vote
Sraga said most of the time charges under the bylaw won’t be laid for minor infractions due to the confusion of organizing volunteers. He said bylaw staff will remove the sign if it’s a safety issue. Otherwise, Sraga said they will call the candidate’s campaign and make them aware of the bylaw violation.
Ryerson University Prof. Myer Siemiatycki said when it comes to local politics, signs can have an important impact on a candidate’s campaign.
“The municipal election is about name recognition,” he told Global News.
“The lawn sign is the way you get your name out there and if you’re not prepared to fight that ground war, don’t bother running.”
So in the lead-up to voting day, here are the main Toronto rules governing election signs in the city.
Placement of signs
Signs can be placed on private property and attached to fences, so long as the property owner consents.
Signs can’t be within 0.6 metres on either side of a sidewalk, 1.5 metres of a curb, three metres of an intersection of a local road or pedestrian crossover and 15 metres of an intersection or pedestrian crossover of a collector or arterial road.
Also, signs can’t be on the surface of a vehicle, a trailer, a median or an island, or adjacent to a polling station, a city of Toronto park or facility.
Unless there’s permission, signs can’t be on TTC advertising spaces, bus shelters, garbage or recycling containers, or street installation advertising spaces.
Election sign restrictions
Signs can’t block sightlines or obstruct visibility, have the city of Toronto logo, be attached to trees, be larger than 1.2 square metres in area (except at a campaign office or on city-approved advertising spaces) or be illuminated (unless on city-approved advertising spaces).
Signs also can’t be higher than two metres above the ground unless it’s at a campaign office or on city-approved advertising spaces.
For signs on private property, only the property owner, the candidate or their campaign, or the third party responsible for the sign can remove it.
When it comes to public property, only the candidate or their campaign or a third party responsible for the sign can remove it.
All signs must be removed by 9 p.m. on Oct. 25, three days after election day.
Election sign complaints
To report sign bylaw violations, the city of Toronto said complaints can be made through the 311 service.
— With files from Matthew Bingley