Signage

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.

Posters

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.

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 $55/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

Permanent signs

Permanent signs require a permit. The cost is $240/sign. Effective September 1, 2019 the fee increases to $245/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 Municipal Enforcement Services counter on the first floor of city hall. We accept cash, cheque, money order, debit or credit card.

Apply by mail

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

City of Waterloo Municipal Enforcement Services
100 Regina St. S.
PO Box 337, Station Waterloo
Waterloo, ON
N2J 4A8

Sign variances

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.

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 zoning@waterloo.ca 

Applying for a variance

  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 $1,250 non-refundable fee (cash or cheque made payable to the City of Waterloo) at the IPPW counter on the second floor of city hall. Effective September 1, 2019 the fee increases to $1275 per application. 

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.

2019 submission and meeting dates

Application submission date

Meeting date

December 28, 2018

January 15, 2019

February 1, 2019

February 19, 2019

March 1, 2019

March 19, 2019

March 29, 2019

April 16, 2019

May 3, 2019

May 21, 2019

May 31, 2019

June 18, 2019

June 28, 2019

July 16, 2019

August 2, 2019

August 20, 2019

August 30, 2019

September 17, 2019

September 27, 2019

October 15, 2019

November 1, 2019

November 19, 2019

November 29, 2019

December 17, 2019

January 3, 2020

January 21, 2020

Penalties and enforcement 

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 municipalenforcement@waterloo.ca.