toronto construction noise

Toronto might actually do something soon to stop the constant construction noise

"The stay-at-home order has been challenging for many reasons, but it literally erodes your mental health when locked into your apartment under the constant sound of drilling and concrete cutting."

These are the recently-tweeted words of Toronto city councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, and they reflect the sentiments of pretty much everyone who happens to live within earshot of a new condo build (so... all of us.)

From six in the morning until 10 p.m. at night, seven days a week, construction crews are currently allowed to make all the noise they want in this city of 2.9 million residents.

Premier Doug Ford declared it so shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, stating at the time that extended construction hours were necessary to facilitate the "new hospital builds, expansions, and COVID-19 assessment centres."

Yeah. Okay.

Some 16 months later, with nearly 80 per cent of Ontarians having received their first dose of a COVID vaccine and almost 60 per cent fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, construction still rages on well outside the times permitted by city noise by-laws.

Under the city's own rules, noise from construction is only permitted between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays, and not at all on Sundays.

While people still working from home would likely rather zero construction noise ever, we'd all be happy at this point even to go back to the old rules — the ones set by our own elected city leaders as opposed to those ordered by Ford.

The province's extended construction hours aren't scheduled to expire until October, but Wong-Tam (backed by Councillor Josh Matlow, who has long been fighting the same problem) says enough is enough is enough.

"Last spring, at the beginning of the pandemic, the Province meddled with the City of Toronto Act to change permitted hours of residential construction to 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. every day of the week," reads a motion put forward by Wong-Tam, set to go before City Council this week.

"This was an unconscionable decision during a time when the Ford government was asking people to do their part to stop the spread of COVID by staying home."

"Residents across the City have complained that their mental health and work have suffered from these extended construction hours. Extending construction hours should have never happened in the first place, but it's certainly well past time that this decision was reversed," the motion continues.

"Please consider this recommendation to request that the Provincial Government end this unreasonable policy and return control of construction noise regulation to the City of Toronto."

This week's City Council meeting is ongoing and stacked with agenda items, but we should know by Friday whether or not Toronto will formally ask Ford to cut out with all the noise. At least before and after seven.

Lead photo by

Jeremy Gilbert

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