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Election signs and the rules that govern them

Campaigns are out planting signs, but there are restriction on where they can be
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Election season is in full swing and campaign staff have been out planting signs for their respective parties.

Candidates are expected to follow certain rules when the post their signs, so they aren't littered all over the place

Elections Canada carries only one requirement when it comes to election signs and advertising. They require signs to contain a tagline of who approved the messaging, usually the name of the special agent or party behind it.

Everything else regarding election signs is governed on a municipal level.

"Our by-law basically focuses on public safety so that they're not a visual hindrance to drivers, or a blight to the landscape where you get multiple signs in one location," says Thomas Hudacin, Acting Manager of Licensing and Enforcement Services with Waterloo Region. 

He says the most common complaints come from residence and other political parties.

"Most of the ones from the public are that they are blocking the view, you know, they're trying to turn a corner, there's a big sign there. They want to know if it's placed properly, and then we send by-law officers out to have a look."

The region even provides a handy infographic on their website's by-law page detailing the rules signs must follow.

"We're a tax-payer funded service. We have many other responsibilities we have to do, and since these types of signs, the placement is preventable, we prefer that they take their time, get it right, so that we don't then have to go out and expend resources to rectify the situation."

Some key restrictions on placement include:

  • must be 100 metres away from a roundabout
  • not in the middle of roundabout
  • 30 metres from a traffic signal
  • only one sign in between two roads
  • 3 metres from fire hydrant or road with no curb/shoulder
  • 1 metres from any other sign on Regional roads
  • 0.5 metres from a sidewalk, road curb with and without a shoulder

Restriction on sign supports and size:

  • Use of wood or wire supports – no “T” bar, re-bar or angle iron
  • No more than two supports 7 cm × 7 cm (2¾" × 2¾") maximum width
  • 0.6 to a maximum of 0.9 metres from the ground
  • Minimum of 1 metre between signs
  • Maximum 1.2 metres (48") in width or 0.8 metres (32") in height

As well as picking up the signs within 72 hours after election day.

Those are the rules that govern election signs on the regional level, with the individual municipalities having their own say on the matter as well. Generally, private residence should be fine to post a sign on their property, but any concerns can be directed to the city.

"And the other thing is regarding property standards, individual municipalities might say, you know, having 50 signs on your lawn isn't okay. I don't know, you have to check the by-laws in your municipality to see if its okay or not."

Renters in particular will have to talk with their landlords about putting up signs as they have final say.




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