Toronto Noise By-law Review Feedback

Toronto City Hall
100 Queen Street West
Toronto, Ontario M5H 2N2

ABC Residents Association (“ABCRA”) is an incorporated volunteer body that has been in existence since 1957. ABCRA represents the interests of residents who live in the area between Yonge Street and Avenue Road and Bloor Street to the CPR tracks.

ABCRA has participated in many iterations of the Noise By-Law review, and was a member of the Noise Working Group (“NWG”) process and has attended all meetings in the lead up to the 2019 Noise By-Law review. The livability of the City is being eroded by excessive unrestricted noise and a lack of enforcement for the rules that we do have.

We are grateful for the opportunity to provide feedback in order to address some of the deficiencies in the 2019 update and help create a policy that establishes clear, meaningful limits on noise and adequate, efficient enforcement.

Our key recommendations:

  1. Without investment in enforcement that can be investigated in real time and on the spot, changes to the by-law decibel levels will not result in the changes you intend. It is not reasonable to ask residents to let investigators into their homes at 1 a.m., 5 days after an incident to prove that the sound levels from a nearby construction site or a bar are in violation.
  2. We want to highlight the importance of aligning this review with the ongoing Night Economy Review and specifically demand that any business hour extensions for entertainment venues for the night economy should not be approved until an increased noise enforcement budget is approved by City council.
  3. We would like to endorse the following specific recommendations, that are a combination of feedback from the No More Noise Toronto and Toronto Noise Coalition work from 2016 onwards.

Excessive Vehicle Noise


  • Request the Province Increase fines substantially, such as $500 fines for the first offense and increase the fines for repeat offenders as well as engaging the Province in adding demerit points to this offense.
  • Reduce the permitted decibel level of motorcycles and motor vehicles at idle from 92 to 85 dBA
  • In addition, test stationary motorcycles and vehicles at 2,000 RPMs with a maximum permitted decibel level at 93 dBA.

Amplified Sound


  • Reinstate a general provision for amplified sound, so that residents can provide evidence of disturbance when measurements cannot be taken.
  • Reduce permitted outdoor decibel levels from 50 to 45 dBA (from 65 to 60 dBC) from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
  • Separate bylaw provisions into 2 categories: commercial uses and neighbour to neighbour noise levels
  • Measure sound levels at source to put the onus on commercial or business uses and concerts etc.
  • Increased enforcement with escalating fines for those found not in compliance
  • Make use of a noise control plan through the business license, as proposed in the Night Economy study.
  • Require Noise Mitigation Plans that will adequately address adverse noise impacts.
  • Better clarify existing regulations for timely submission of the request for exemption permit and community notification.

Construction Noise


  • Add a decibel level to restrict back up beeper noise levels to that of broadband reversing alarms that restrict the noise levels to the immediate area of emission where a warning is needed.
  • Request the City (which is exempt from the Noise Bylaw) to move to using broadband reversing alarms or equivalent for fire trucks, garbage trucks and police cars.
  • Add an additional tonal requirement of 5dBA to deal with the impacts of unusual hum, hiss or music and separate commercial noise amplification from neighbour to neighbour activities.
  • Provide enforcement of the bylaws in a timely manner.
  • Increase the fines of breaking the bylaws
  • require that construction sites have a noise mitigation plan, which is publicly posted, with a contact person when there are issues.

General Noise


  • Remove the exemption on private waste collection so they would be prohibited from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. to 9 a.m. on weekends and statutory holidays.
  • Add measurement of noise in dBC weighting to cover multiple noise sources including vibration, which was deleted in the 2019 Noise Bylaw
  • Add power tools, such as power washers to have hours of operations and support establishing a reasonable decibel limit at the source.
  • Support establishing a reasonable decibel limit for power devices to be measured at the source, rather than at point of reception, when possible to enforce
  • Find ways that the City can help regulate noise from air conditioners, now regulated by the Province.
  • Add a decibel level to restrict back up beeper noise levels to that of broadband reversing alarms that restrict the noise levels to the immediate area of emission where a warning is needed.

Any by-law changes must be accompanied by a cost analysis to ensure enforcement is not further compromised. These analysis must consider the cost for staff to monitor and enforce compliance in situations that are requiring measurements that exist after working hours.

Enforcement strategies:

  • Train police officers with sound meters and perform roadside inspections, similar to Ride programs.
  • Inspect car repair shops and dealerships and if they install modifications, issue large fines and remove the license for repeat offenders.
  • The number of Noise by Law Officers must be increased to meet demand and should respond to noise complaints during times the complaints are made.
  • Officers must be given the authority to issue summons tickets and notices for violations of the Noise by law.
  • A detailed and incremental fine schedule must be drafted that more effectively deters offenses and repeat offenders.
  • Better coordination and communication between the AGCO and the Toronto police services is needed.
  • The city must set performance-based measurements as well as realistic and time-based schedules for an evaluation of enforcement effectiveness.


The ABC Residents Association,
Ian Carmichael and John Caliendo,

Photo: “Too Loud!” by TheNickster is via CC BY-SA 2.0.

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