Does the city have a policy on electronic window signs?


Here’s an excerpt from a document that will be presented at City Council next week.  Councillor Mathieu Fleury submitted this questions to City staff:

“Does the City have the powers under its current by-laws to regulate distracting animated electronic signage inside of a window, where the message is pointed towards the outside? If not, what measures can the City take to regulate this type of signage. These signs can be very distracting to pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers and have adverse impacts on quality of life of residents and the liveability of our main streets.”

Here’s the response from John Moser, the City’s deputy city manager:

The Municipal Act, 2001, S.O. 2001, c.25 gives Ontario cities the legal authority to prohibit and regulate signs on private and public property within their geographic boundaries.

The City of Ottawa’s Permanent Signs on Private Property By-law 2005-439 does not currently regulate illuminated signs located within the window frame on the interior of a building and, as a consequence, the City does not have the power to take enforcement action with respect to such signs.

Council received a report on this matter on April 9, 2014 (ACS2014-CMR-PLC-0002) as a follow-up to a request from former Councillor Hobbs to add a review of illuminated window signage to the Planning and Growth Management Department’s 2014 Workplan. The report recommendation was that “Planning Committee direct staff of the Planning and Growth Management Department to review the issue of illuminated and digital signs within the window frame on the interior of a building and report back to Committee at the earliest opportunity.”

At this meeting, Council referred the matter to the 2014-2018 Term of Council Priorities.

 A routine review/update of the Permanent Signs on Private Property By-law 2005-439 is currently underway and will include, among other aspects, consideration of regulating illuminated window signs. It is expected that this review/update will be completed early in 2016.

OttawaStart Staff


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