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The City of Waterloo's nuisance by-law (no. 2011-125) regulates public nuisance and illegal dumping in the city.

This by-law prohibits the following activities in public places:

  • Blocking, interfering, obstructing or impeding pedestrian passage onto a public place, except when permitted to do so by the city
  • Dumping and littering
  • Emitting an offensive odour or excessive amount of smoke, dust or airborne particulate matter, except when permitted to do so by the city
  • Knocking over Canada Post mailboxes or relay boxes, newspaper boxes, garbage or recycling containers
  • Spitting, vomiting, urinating and defecating


By-law officers may enter and inspect any property - without a warrant - to determine whether or not it conforms with the nuisance by-law. If it does not, the officer many issue an order requesting the person or property owner to comply.

If the person or property owner does not comply with the order, we may take action to rectify the issue at the resident's expense. Parts 5 to 11 of the by-law have more information on enforcement.

If you believe someone is violating the nuisance by-law and would like to file a complaint, please contact us online or by calling 519-747-8785.

Frequently asked questions

Q. What groups are exempt from the by-law?

A. The City of Waterloo, Region of Waterloo, Government of Ontario and Government of Canada are exempt from this by-law. Public utility companies and people authorized by the city are also exempt when performing their jobs.

Q. What information should I include if I would like to apply for an exemption to the nuisance by-law?

A. Exemption requests should contain the following information: name and address of the applicant, description of the proposed nuisance, location of the proposed nuisance, period of time for exemption and reasons why the permit should be granted. Do not forget to include the applicable fee. Requests should be directed to the enforcement division in person or by mail at 100 Regina St. S., PO Box 337, Station Waterloo, Waterloo, Ont., N2J 4A8 or by email.

Q. This by-law regulates some of the things the public can do in "public places." What's the definition of a "public place?"

A. Public place includes highways and any places the public has access to as a right or by invitation, and may also include private property that is exposed to public view.