The city’s sign bylaw regulates if signs are permitted and if so, the size, location and maintenance of signs across the city. Most sign types require a permit.

On this page

  1. Where posters are permitted
  2. Erecting temporary signs
  3. Apply for a permit for a permanent sign
  4. Apply for a variance to the sign bylaw
  5. Penalties and enforcement of sign use rules

Where posters are permitted

There are several utility poles along King Street in uptown Waterloo fitted with special sleeves for posters. Any non-offensive material can be posted with glue or tape. Material posted elsewhere is not permitted and will be removed.

Erecting temporary signs

Portable or temporary signs require a permit to display on public or private property. Apply in-person at the municipal enforcement counter at Waterloo City Centre (city hall). The cost is $60.12/permit (cash, cheque, money order, debit and credit accepted).

Temporary sign regulations 

  • one sign/business, no larger than 60 x 90cm
  • must be directly in front of business being advertised
  • must not block public right of way
  • sign is not meant to be transported

Apply for a permit for a permanent sign

Permanent signs require a permit. The cost is $275/sign. Various payment methods are accepted based on how you apply. For further assistance, refer to the permanent sign guide (PDF).

Apply online

  1. Register or sign in to our online permit application.
  2. Enter and submit your sign information.
  3. Pay with credit card (online debit cards not accepted).

Apply in person

  1. Download, print and fill out our Permanent Sign Application form (PDF).
  2. Bring your complete application to the Integrated Planning and Public Works counter on the second floor of city hall. We accept cash, cheque, debit or credit card.

Apply by mail

  1. Download, print and fill out our Permanent Sign Application form (PDF).
  2. Include a cheque for the correct amount (payable to the City of Waterloo) and send to:

City of Waterloo IPPW (2nd Floor)
100 Regina St. S.
PO Box 337, Station Waterloo
Waterloo, ON
N2J 4A8

Apply for a variance to the sign bylaw

Applications that require amendments to the sign bylaw go through the Sign Variance Committee. All variance applications are reviewed to ensure they meet the intent of the Sign Bylaw and comply with the zoning bylaw. They also must comply with the Ontario Building Code.

  1. Download and complete a Sign Variance Committee Application (PDF).
  2. Check the submission and meeting dates below.
  3. Submit your application along with the $1,435 non-refundable fee (cash or cheque made payable to the City of Waterloo) at the IPPW counter on the second floor of city hall.

If you have questions about whether your sign requires a variance, contact us at 519-747-8752, TTY (for deaf) 1-866-786-3941 or 

Note that the committee can grant or refuse any application for a variance and may impose conditions. Your application fee will not be refunded. You can appeal committee decisions to city council within 21 days.

2023 submission and meeting dates

Application submission date

Committee meeting date

December 30 2022

January 17 2023

February 3 2023

February 21 2023

March 3 2023

March 21 2023

March 31 2023

April 18 2023

April 28 2023

May 16 2023

June 2 2023

June 20 2023

June 30 2023

July 18 2023

July 28 2023

August 15 2023

September 1 2023

September 19 2023

September 29 2023

October 17 2023

November 3 2023

November 21 2023

December 1 2023

December 19 2023

December 29 2023

January 16 2024

Penalties and enforcement of sign use rules

The Sign Bylaw is enforced often through complaints and site inspections. Putting up a sign without a permit can result in it being removed at the owner’s expense and fines to a maximum of $50,000 for a person and $100,000 for a corporation.

If you believe someone is breaking the sign bylaw and would like to file a complaint, contact us during business hours at 519-747-8785 or