Election signs advertise or promote candidates in federal, provincial, or municipal elections. This can include, but is not limited to ground signs, posters, vehicle wraps, mobile signs on vehicles or trailers and bumper stickers intended to influence a person to vote for or against any candidate.
Election signs in Hamilton must comply with the City of Hamilton's Sign By-law No. 22-031
The bylaw provides rules for the display of election signs on private and public properties, outlines when election signs can be displayed and when they must be removed and provides details on sign size and content.
Frequently Asked Questions
When was the Sign By-Law updated?
The Sign By-law was updated in 2022, with specific amendments made with regard to Election Signs. The amendments were approved by Council on February 23, 2022.
What did the amendments to the election signs section of the Sign By-Law include?
The updates to the Sign By-law in 2022 retained the majority of provisions related to Election Signs. The section pertaining to election signs was removed from the main body of the By-law and included as Schedule 1 for ease of use and clarity. Amendments made included language clarifying permissible displays, enhancements to relevant definitions, regulations pertaining to third party advertising, and regulations respecting vehicle signs.
What is considered to be an election sign?
As per the By-law, an election sign means any “object, entity, thing, surface, structure, display and any other component parts which are used as a visual medium or display for the purposes of:
- (i) advertising, promoting, opposing or taking a position with respect to any Candidate, Election, political party, or question or by-law submitted to the electors on the ballot under the Canada Elections Act, the Election Act, the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, or any other legislation; or
- (ii) influencing electors to vote for or against a Candidate, political party, or question or bylaw submitted to the electors on the ballot under the Canada Elections Act, the Election Act, the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, or any other legislation.
An election sign does not include election campaign material or an election bumper sticker.
Are t-shirts or brochures considered to be an election sign?
No, election campaign material are excluded from the definition of clection sign. Election campaign material means pamphlets, brochures, or any article of clothing distributed by or on behalf of a Candidate or Registered Third Party for the same purposes as an election sign.
Do I need a permit for an election sign?
The City of Hamilton does not require permits for the majority of election signs. This includes ground signs, posters and vehicle signs.
There are some instances where a permit may be required under the Building Code Act, 1992, depending on the size of the sign and if it is to be affixed to a building or where the sign is a designated structure. If you are unsure whether your sign requires a permit, please review the Sign By-law.
If there are further questions, please reach out to reach out to the Licensing Section by phone:, Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm or By email at [email protected]
When am I able to place an election sign?
As per the Sign By-law, election signs can be placed 28 days in advance of Election Day. For the 2022 Municipal Election, this means that election signs can be displayed commencing on Monday September 26, 2022
For Provincial and Federal Elections, signs can posted once the writ of an election is issued.
When can I place at sign at my campaign office?
Election signs for Candidates at campaign offices can be displayed once nomination papers have been filed and the fee has been paid, or for Third-Party Advertisers once they have registered with the City Clerk.
A campaign office is defined as: “a building or structure, or part of a building or structure, used by a Candidate or an agent of a Candidate or by a Registered Third Party or an agent of a Registered Third Party as part of an Election campaign and registered with the Clerk as the Candidate or Registered Third Party’s Campaign Office.”
When do election signs need to be removed?
As per the Sign By-law, election signs must be removed within 72 hours of 11:59 pm on Voting Day. For the 2022 Municipal Election, this means that signs must be removed by 11:59pm on October 27, 2022.
What does the City consider to be residential property?
A property used for residential use includes:
- Single Detached Dwelling
- Semi Detached Dwelling
- Fourplex or Quadruplex
- Street Townhouse
- Mobile Home
- Residential Care Facility for 6 or less residents
- Lodging House for 6 or less lodgers
- Retirement Home for 6 or less residents
- Emergency Shelter for 6 or less residents
Where can I place my election sign on a residential property?
An election sign can be on private property and on the City Boulevard between the sidewalk and the private property line, or where no sidewalk exists, between the roadway and the private property line.
Signs cannot obstruct the view of any pedestrian or drivers of a vehicle, obstruct the visibility of any traffic signal or traffic control device or interfere with vehicular traffic and also, signs cannot be displayed within a visibility triangle.
How many election signs can I place on my property?
The By-law does not specify the number of election signs that can be placed on a property, however the display must be in accordance with sections 4.1 and 5.1 of the Sign By-law.
When do election signs need to be removed?
As per the Sign By-law, election signs must be removed within 72 hours of 11:59pm on Election Day. For the 2022 Municipal Election, this means that signs must be removed by 11:59pm on October 27, 2022.
Can I have an election vehicle sign?
Yes. An election vehicle sign is permitted so long as it does not violate any Federal, Provincial, or Municipal traffic laws and safety standards
When am I able to display an election vehicle sign?
Election vehicle signs may be displayed once a candidate has filed their nomination papers and the required filing fee, or at once a third-party advertiser has registered with the City Clerk.
How large can my election sign be?
Election signs on residential properties must be 1.5 square meters or smaller. Signs larger than 1.5 square meters may be displayed on properties other than residential properties, as long as the election sign complies with Part 5 of the Sign By-law and a permit is obtained where required by the Building Code Act, 1992.
Can I use the City’s logo on an election sign?
No. City of Hamilton Logos, including the logo of the Hamilton Street Railway, the logo of the Hamilton Police Service, the City’s municipal election logo, or any other logo in which the City holds an interest, or the City’s crest or seal, in whole or in part, may not be used on any election sign or election campaign materials
What do I need to include on a Third-Party Advertiser sign?
As per the Sign By-law, no person shall display an election sign unless it contains all information required by applicable law. In accordance with section 88.5 (1) of the Municipal Elections Act, 2001, Third Party Advertisements, including any election signs, shall contain:
- valid and current contact information including the name of the Registered Third Party
- the municipality where the Registered Third Party is registered (if applicable),
- a telephone number, mailing address or email address at which the Registered Third Party may be contacted.
This contact information shall be displayed using a minimum font size of 24.
What do I need to include on a candidate sign?
As per the Sign By-law, no person shall display an election sign unless it contains all information required by applicable law. In accordance with section 88.3 (2) of the Municipal Elections Act, 2001, an election campaign advertisement purchased by or under the direction of a candidate must identify the candidate.
Can I display an election sign on City property?
Election signs are permitted on City property in these instances:
- holding of a hand-held election sign
- display of a poster in accordance with the regulations set forth in section 5.8.2(f) of the Sign By-law
- election vehicle sign while affixed to a Vehicle that is in use on any roadway in the City in accordance with all applicable laws and by-laws, or while authorized to be parked in any municipal parking lot
- display of an election sign on commercial advertising space owned or operated by the City or one of its agencies, boards or commissions where the advertising has been approved by the City
Can I place an election sign at a voting place?
No. As per the Sign By-law, no person shall display or permit the display of an election sign at a property used as a voting place on Voting Day or on an Advance Voting Day; or at a property used for the administration of election processes on Voting Day or on an Advance Voting Day.
Can I have an electronic election sign?
Election signs with electronic message display are not permitted.
What is the penalty for violating the Sign By-law?
Failure to comply with the requirements of the Sign By-law may result in:
My election sign was removed. How do I get it back?
To make arrangements to pick up an election sign that has been removed call the Licensing Section at 905-546-2782 option 3.
Signs that have been removed are stored for 28 days and may be redeemed during this time period upon payment of the applicable fee prescribed in the City’s User Fees and Charges By-law. After 28 days we may dispose of the sign without notice or compensation.
Who do I contact to complain about an Election Sign?
The Licensing Section at [email protected] or phone at 905-546-2782 option 3.
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