toronto noise bylaw

Toronto is waging war against noisy cars and construction sites

The day of reckoning has come for people who modify their cars to sound like planes, let their dogs bark outside all night and fire up their lawnmowers at 5 a.m.

Toronto's new and enhanced noise bylaw comes into effect today, bringing with it a "dedicated noise team" to ensure compliance, and maximum fines of up to $100,000 — up from the previous $5,000.

Adopted by City Council after a 23-2 vote back in April, the updated bylaw marks the first update to City of Toronto noise rules since 2010. It now includes actual decibel limits for amplified sound and motor vehicles, making noise complaints quantifiable for the first time.

One key update pertains to motorcycles, which weren't included in previous versions of Toronto's noise bylaw.

"No person shall emit or cause or permit the emission of sound from a motorcycle, if the motorcycle emits any sound exceeding 92 dB(A) from the exhaust outlet as measured at 50 cm, while the motorcycle engine is at idle," reads the updated set of rules.

Further to that, the drivers of all motor vehicle types are prohibited from making "unnecessary" noise, including the "sounding of a horn, revving of an engine, squealing of tires, banging, clanking or any like sound that is clearly audible at a point of reception."

Toronto Mayor John Tory has called out such noise makers specifically in recent months, going so far as to say that men who drive around revving their engines are doing so to make up for other "inadequacies."

With today's new, stricter noise rules come new enforcement resources as well.

The City of Toronto explained in a press release on Tuesday that two dozen Bylaw Enforcement Officers, along with management and administrative support, will now be available to respond to noise complaints seven days a week between 6 a.m. and 2 a.m.

These officers will be using "modernized investigative techniques developed with sound engineering experts" and new case management software to prioritize particularly egregious noise bylaw violations.

You can read an easy-to-understand breakdown of the new rules on the city's website, or check out the full bylaw document here.

Noise complaints, as usual, can be filed through 311 — and they'll actually be attended to in good time if everything works as planned.

Let's hope it does, for the sake of our health and sanity.

Lead photo by

Jeremy Gilbert


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