Anti-graffiti bylaw

This bylaw is a consolidated digital version of the official legal document. It is not an exact reproduction and is for information purposes only.

Contact 519-747-87771-866-785-3941 (TTY for deaf) or clerkinfo@waterloo.ca to get a copy of the official bylaw.


Bylaw number: 2011 - 062
Last passed by council: July 6, 2011


A bylaw to regulate unwanted graffiti on property 

  1. Definitions 
  2. Graffiti prohibited 
  3. Application to interior space 
  4. Penalty 
  5. Powers of Inspection 
  6. Hindrance or obstruction 
  7. Order to discontinue activity 
  8. Work order 
  9. Remedial Action 
  10. Severability 
  11. Coming into force 
  12. Repeal 
  13. Short title 
  14. Fees and charges 

Whereas section 128(1) of the Municipal Act, 2001, S.O. 2001, c.25, as amended (the “Act”) states that a local municipality may prohibit and regulate with respect to public nuisances, including matters that, in the opinion of Council, are or could become or cause public nuisances;

And whereas section 128(2) of the Act states that the opinion of Council under section 128, if arrived at in good faith, is not subject to review by any Court;

And whereas it is the opinion of Council that unwanted graffiti on property is a public nuisance;

Now therefore the Council of The Corporation of the City of Waterloo enacts as follows:


1.0 Definitions 

In this bylaw:

“City” means The Corporation of the City of Waterloo

“Council” means the municipal council of the City;

“Graffiti” means one or more letters, symbols, marks, pictorial representations, messages or slogans howsoever made on any property, but does not include the following:

(a) a sign, public notice, or traffic control mark authorized by the City, the Regional Municipality of Waterloo or the federal or provincial governments; or,

(b) a sign authorized pursuant to a permit issued under the City’s Sign By-Law.

“Municipal Law Enforcement Officer” means an individual appointed by the Council of the City pursuant to s. 15 of the Police Services Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P. 15, as amended;

“Owner” means the registered owner, occupant or tenant of a property, or a person who, for the time being or permanently, is managing or receiving the rent from a property, whether on his or her own account or on account of an agent or trustee of any other person, or any one of the aforesaid;

“Person” means an individual or group of individuals, unincorporated association, sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation;

“Police Officer” means an officer of the Waterloo Regional Police Service; and,

“Property” means land that may have a building (occupied or unoccupied) on it or vacant land.


2.0 Graffiti prohibited 

No person shall place graffiti, or cause or permit graffiti to be placed on any property.

An owner shall keep their property free of graffiti.


3.0 Application to interior space 

Section 2 does not apply to the interior space of any property.


4.0 Penalty 

Every person who contravenes any of the provisions of this bylaw is guilty of an offence and, on conviction, is liable:

(a) on a first conviction, to a fine of not less than $400.00 and not more than $100,000.00; and,

(b) on a second or subsequent conviction, to a fine of not more than $10,000.00 for each day or part of a day on which the contravention has continued after the day on which the person was first convicted.


5.0 Powers of inspection 

The City may enter on land at any reasonable time for the purpose of carrying out an inspection to determine whether or not the following are being complied with:

(a) this bylaw;

(b) a direction or order of the City made under this bylaw; or,

(c) an order made under s. 431 of the Municipal Act, 2001, S.O. 2001, c. 25, as amended.

For the purposes of conducting an inspection pursuant to s. 6 of this bylaw, the City may, in accordance with the provisions of s. 436 of the Act:

(a) require the production for inspection of documents or things relevant to the inspection;

(b) inspect and remove documents or things relevant to the inspection for the purpose of making copies or extracts;

(c) require information from any person concerning a matter related to the inspection; and,

(d) alone or in conjunction with a person possessing special or expert knowledge, make examinations or take tests, samples or photographs necessary for the purposes of the inspection.


6.0 Hindrance or obstruction 

No person shall hinder or obstruct, or attempt to hinder or obstruct, any person who is exercising a power or performing a duty under this bylaw.


7.0 Order to discontinue activity 

Where the City is satisfied that a contravention of this bylaw has occurred, the City may make an order requiring the person who contravened this bylaw, or who caused or permitted the contravention, or the owner or occupier of the land on which the contravention occurred, to discontinue the contravening activity.

An order under s. 9 of this bylaw shall set out:

(a) reasonable particulars of the contravention adequate to identify the contravention and the location of the land on which the contravention occurred; and,

(b) the date by which there must be compliance with the order.

Any person who contravenes an order under s. 9 of this bylaw is guilty of an offence.


8.0 Work order 

Where the City is satisfied that a contravention of this bylaw has occurred, the City may make an order requiring the person who contravened this bylaw, or who caused or permitted the contravention, or the owner or occupier of the land on which the contravention occurred, to do work to correct the contravention.

An order under s. 12 of this bylaw shall set out:

(a) reasonable particulars of the contravention adequate to identify the contravention and the location of the land on which the contravention occurred; and,

(b) the work to be done and the date by which the work must be done.

An order under s. 12 may require work to be done even though the facts which constitute the contravention of this bylaw were present before this bylaw came into force.

Any person who contravenes an order under s. 12 of this bylaw is guilty of an offence.


9.0 Remedial action 

If a person fails to do a matter or thing, including comply with an order under this bylaw, as directed or required by this bylaw, the City may, in default of it being done by the person directed or required to do it, do the matter or thing at the person’s expense.  The City may recover the costs of doing a matter or thing from the person directed or required to do it by action or by adding the costs to the tax roll and collecting them in the same manner as municipal taxes.

The costs outlined in s. 16 of this bylaw shall include interest calculated at a rate of 15 per cent, calculated for the period commencing on the day the City incurs the costs and ending on the day the costs, including the interest, are paid in full.

The amount of the costs, including interest, constitutes a lien on the land upon the registration in the proper land registry office of a notice of lien.  The lien is in respect of all costs that are payable at the time the notice is registered plus interest accrued to the date the payment is made.  Upon receiving payment of all costs payable plus interest accrued to the date of payment, the City shall register a discharge of the lien in the proper land registry office.

(a) Enter upon the property and remove the graffiti from the property.

(b) Do so at the expense of the owner of the property.

(c) Recover the costs incurred by the City from the owner of the property by action or by adding the costs to the tax roll and collecting them in the same manner as taxes.


10.0 Severability 

If a court of competent jurisdiction should declare any section or part of a section of this bylaw to be invalid, such section or part of section shall not be construed as having persuaded or influenced Council to pass the remainder of this bylaw and it is hereby declared that the remainder of this bylaw shall be valid and shall remain in full force and effect.


11.0 Coming into force 

This bylaw shall come into force and effect on the day it is passed.


12.0 Repeal 

Any portion of the Municipal Code relating to graffiti enforcement or graffiti control is hereby repealed.


13.0 Short title 

This By-Law may be referred to as the “Anti-Graffiti By-Law”.


 14.0 Fees and charges 

Council may, from time to time, impose fees and charges to recover its costs in relation to the administration and enforcement of this bylaw. 

Passed by the Council this 19th day of July, 2010.


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