To put up election signs in Markham, candidates and third party advertisers need a permit from the City of Markham.
Election signs are regulated by both local and regional municipal by-laws:
The City of Markham administers and enforces election sign rules in Markham.
|Sign area||1.49 square metres (16 square feet)|
|Height||1.22 metres (4 feet)|
|Width||1.22 metres (4 feet)|
|Height off the ground||2 metres (6.6 feet) above the ground|
Election signs can’t be designed in a way that could confuse, distract, or mislead traffic, or in any other way threaten pedestrian or driver safety.
- Light up
- Have flashing lights, reflectors or rotating parts
- Use words, phrases, symbols, characters, lights or other design elements that imitate a traffic sign or signal (e.g., ‘Stop’, ‘Look’, ‘One Way’, ‘Danger’, etc.)
Outside of the above, election sign content is not regulated by municipal bylaws. Complaints about libel or hate speech on election signs are reported to and investigated by the York Regional Police under the Criminal Code of Canada.
Election signs are allowed on private property if:
- The candidate or third party has purchased the proper election sign permit from the City of Markham
- The sign is put up within the defined posting period for the specific election
- The property owner or occupant has given permission for the sign for the sign to go up
- The sign is planted in the ground (i.e., not on a wall, window, fence, utility structure, tree or natural object)
- The candidate or third party advertiser only has one election sign posted on the property
- The election sign doesn’t interfere with pedestrian or vehicular traffic safety
- The sign doesn’t interfere with a fire escape, fire exit, door, window, scuttle, skylight, flue, air intake, or exhaust
- The sign doesn’t stop or impede emergency workers from accessing any part of a building (including emergency water connections and fire hydrants)
- If it’s a rural residential area or a farm, the sign is on the part of the property that's being maintained as a residence
- The property doesn’t border a restricted street within a Heritage Conservation District;
Election signs are allowed on public boulevards bordering the front yard of a private residence, unless the residence is within a Heritage Conservation District. Permission is needed from the property owner or resident whose home borders the boulevard. Election signs are not allowed on public boulevards to the side or back of private residences.
Election signs are allowed on public property if:
- The candidate or third party advertiser has purchased the proper election sign permit from the City of Markham
- The sign is put up within the defined posting period for the specific election
- The sign is put up at a designated intersection, and is:
- Within the candidate or third party advertiser’s electoral district
- Within 50 metres of the corner and outside the corner’s sight triangle
- At least 10 metres back from a driveway or parking lot access point
- At least 5 metres back from any bus stops, bus shelters, and fire hydrants
- At least 3 metres back from the curb, road shoulder or road edge
- At least 3 metres back from a school crossing
- At least 1 metre back from any sidewalks
- Planted in the ground (i.e., not on a wall, window, fence, utility structure, tree or natural object)
- Not between a curb and a sidewalk
- Not on a traffic island or median strip
- Not on a corner where the neighbouring property is a City of Markham facility (e.g., community centre, public library, etc.)
- Not on a corner where the neighbouring property is being used as a Voting Place
- Not blocking safe pedestrian or vehicle movement
- Not blocking City maintenance work
If an election sign is put up in conflict with the City’s by-laws, the sign will be removed and held until after the election.
- Candidates and third party advertisers who have a permit can put up election signs starting September 26 at 10 AM
- Signs that are not recovered by the candidate or third party advertiser within 72 hours after Final Voting Day (October 24) are removed by the City of Markham
- Signs are removed by the City if:
- The sign is placed in a non-permitted location
- The sign has been removed from the ground or is in disrepair
- The sign poses a public safety hazard
- Candidates and third party advertisers are charged a $26 service fee for any sign that is in violation of the City’s by-laws
- Candidates and third party advertisers whose election signs are removed by the City receive weekly reports that will include:
- The location of any removed signs belonging to them
- The reason why a specific sign was removed
- The total sign infraction fees they owe to the City
- Signs that are removed by the City are held until after the election
- Candidates and third party advertisers are notified of where and how they can get their election signs back
- Election signs that are not recovered by the owner are disposed of by the City
- Election signs are private property. Complaints about vandalism, theft, or tampering are reported to the York Regional Police
When installing and removing election signs, remember to take proper safety precautions to support both your own and public safety, such as:
- Wearing bright and reflective clothing (e.g., traffic vests) and safety footwear
- Putting up and taking down election signs outside of peak travel times (e.g., between 9:30 AM and 3:30 PM)
- Parking your vehicles in a way that minimizes the impact to pedestrians, cyclists and drivers
- Staying clear of any areas under maintenance or construction
- Securing your signs firmly in the ground to protect them from being blown away
- Candidates are allowed to put up elections signs at their campaign office, except for mobile, portable, and banner signs
- A single election sign displaying the words “Campaign Headquarters” can be placed on private property
- Signs can be placed on a candidate’s campaign office once the candidate has registered with City Clerk
What can I do if a campaign has placed a sign on my lawn without my permission?
Email Elections Markham at ElectionSigns@markham.ca to have us pick it up for you, contact the candidate or third party advertiser who it belongs to and ask them to remove it, or dispose of it yourself.
A campaign has placed a sign on the city boulevard along my property. Is this allowed?
Only if it's in a non-protected residential area, along the front of the property, and you gave the candidate or third party advertiser permission to put it there. If your property borders an arterial road at an intersection, this may be what's called a 'permitted intersection'. Email Elections Markham at ElectionSigns@markham.ca to find out more.
How many signs can I have on my lawn?
You can place as many signs as you want on your property, as long as you only have 1 sign per candidate or third party advertiser, and the candidate or third party advertiser is registered in your ward.
Where do I report any suspected infractions or safety issues around to election signs?
Email Elections Markham at ElectionSigns@markham.ca to ask about a possible safety issue or non-compliant sign. Elections Markham will perform a site inspection and resolve the problem, if there is one.
When can election signs to go up?
For the 2022 Markham Municipal Election, election signs are allowed to go up 28 days before Final Voting Day (October 24). For federal and provincial elections, signs can go up the day after the election is issued.
Candidates and third party advertisers need a permit from the City of Markham before they can put up election signs.
Are election signs allowed on the city boulevard in front of homes?
Yes. Election signs are allowed on city boulevards in front of homes, as long as the homeowner or resident has given permission and the sign doesn't pose a safety hazard.
What are some common election sign infractions to look out for?
- More than 2 election signs at the same intersection for the same candidate or third party advertiser
- More than 1 election sign on the same corner for the same candidate or third party advertiser
- More than 1 election sign on the same private lawn for the same candidate or third party advertiser
- An election sign that's on public property but more than 50 metres from an intersection
- An election sign that's on a traffic island or median strip
- An election sign that's on a wall, window, fence or utility structure
For more rules, see the Markham Election Sign Bylaw 2018-8 [PDF]
When do election signs have to come down?
Candidates and third party advertisers have 72 hours after voting ends to remove all of their signs from public and private property. If you see any signs still up after this time, please contact ElectionSigns@markham.ca with details.
There are election signs along the north side of Steeles Avenue that are not following the City of Markham's rules. What can be done?
Both the north and south sides of Steeles Avenue are maintained and regulated by the City of Toronto. Please consult their rules and issue any questions and/or complaints to 416-392-CITY (2489).
I saw an election sign being vandalized, stolen or moved. Where do I report this?
Vandalism, theft, and other forms of election sign tampering is a criminal offence. If you see this happen, report it to the York Regional Police's Non-Emergency Line at 1-866-876-5423.
Questions or complaints?
Markham Civic Centre
101 Town Centre Boulevard
Markham, Ontario, L3R 9W3
905.477.7000 x8683 (VOTE)