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.

On this page

  1. Where you can post flyers and posters
  2. Erecting temporary signs
  3. Find your sign zone
  4. Apply for a permanent sign permit
  5. Apply for a variance to the Sign bylaw
  6. Report a sign issue and find penalties

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

Find your sign zone

Find your sign zone using the Sign bylaw or the city's Interactive map. The map is not compatible with mobile devices.

To use the map:

  1. Open the map from the link on the Maps and open date web page
  2. Agree to the terms
  3. Click the button on the top ribbon that says "Find sign bylaw"
  4. Enter the address in the top left corner and click Search
  5. The sign zone is provided at the top of the box where you performed the search.


Apply for a permanent sign permit

Permanent signs require a permit that costs $275 per sign. You can pay using various methods depending on how you apply.

Consult with staff prior to the submission of a sign permit application because the sign permit fee includes a non-refundable review fee of $225.

For further assistance, refer to the permanent sign guide (PDF).

Apply online

  1. Register or sign in to our online permit application.
  2. Submit your sign information.
  3. Pay with a 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

The Sign Variance Committee reviews all variance applications to make sure they meet the intent of the Sign bylaw and comply with the Zoning bylaw. They also must comply with the Ontario Building Code.

  1. Check the submission and meeting dates below.
  2. Use our online form to submit your application.
  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 your variance request is approved, you’ll still need to apply for a sign permit.

Apply for a variance

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 

The committee can grant or refuse any variance application and may impose conditions. Application fees are non-refundable. You can appeal committee decisions to city council within 21 days.

2024 submission and meeting dates

Application submission date

Committee meeting date

December 1 2023

December 12 2023

December 22 2023

January 16 2024

January 26 2024

February 20 2024

February 23 2024

March 19 2024

March 22 2024

April 16 2024

April 26 2024

May 21 2024

May 23 2024

June 18 2024

June 21 2024

July 16 2024

July 26 2024

August 20 2024

August 23 2024

September 17 2024

September 20 2024

October 15 2024

October 25 2024

November 19 2024

November 15 2024

December 10 2024

December 20 2024

January 21 2025


Report a sign issue and find penalties

Our Sign bylaw is enforced through complaints and site inspections. Putting up a sign without a permit can result in 

  • removal at the owner’s expense
  • fines up to a maximum of $50,000 for an individual
  • fines up to a maximum of $100,000 for a corporation

If you believe someone is breaking the Sign bylaw, file a complaint by calling 519-747-8785 or by email to municipalenforcement@waterloo.ca.