The city has a new noise bylaw, and here's how it will work

The city just launched a "new and enhanced" noise bylaw that's taking effect Tuesday that staffers say will make it easier to understand and enforce noise complaints.

This is the first time Toronto's noise bylaw has been updated in years

The City of Toronto has provided a list of noises that residents can file complaints about. The noises range from loud motorcycles and vehicles to construction and power tools. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

Are you sick of being woken up by loud construction noises on the weekend? How about the sound of revving engines at night?

Well the city just launched a "new and enhanced" noise bylaw that's taking effect Tuesday that staffers say will make it easier to understand and enforce noise complaints.

Here's everything you need to know about it.

How do you file a noise complaint?

To make a noise complaint, all you need to do is dial 311. 

The city has created a new "noise team" to assist in dealing with noise complaints. That team consists of two dozen bylaw enforcement officers who will be available to respond to noise complaints each day from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m.

What noise can you file a complaint about?

According to the city, you may be able to complain about the following, depending on time and day:

  • Animal noise. Only persistent barking, calling or whining.
  • Construction. Noise is not permitted from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. on weekdays, and from 7 p.m. to 9 a.m. on Saturdays. Noise is also not permitted on Sundays and on statutory holidays.
  • Loading, unloading, delivering. Noise is not permitted from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., and from 11 p.m. to 9 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and statuatory holidays.
  • Motor vehicles. Loud noise from vehicles is not permitted from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. On Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays, it is not permitted until 9 a.m.
  • Motorcycle noise. You can file a complaint about loud motorcycles and the noise will be measured by bylaw enforcement officers using sound meters. The noise is not permitted to exceed approved standards.
  • Unnecessary noise. This includes engine revving and tire squealing.
  • Power device noise. Not permitted during the week from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. On Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays, noise isn't permitted until 9 a.m. This does not apply to devices used to maintain public parks, golf courses and snow removal devices.
  • Noise disturbing a religious ceremony in a place of worship.
  • Residential air conditioners. Noise will be measured by bylaw enforcement officers using a sound meter.

The city says any noise that is not covered in the above categories can be reported if it's "unreasonable and persistent."

What happens after you file a noise complaint?

Construction noise is not permitted from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. during the week, and until 9 a.m. on Saturdays. It is not permitted on Sundays or statutory holidays. (Dan Taekema/CBC News)

Once you file a noise complaint, an officer from the city will be assigned to respond to the request.

If the officer deems the noise to be a violation of the noise bylaw, they might conduct an investigation that can include education, mediation, and/or enforcement actions, the city says.

Will the new bylaw work?

While the city is optimistic that the new bylaw will do the job, the last anti-noise bylaw that was meant to curb loud vehicles was not so successful

In a statement about the new bylaw, Mayor Tory said the city is taking action about residents' concerns of noise in the city.

"Through consultation and research we now have an enhanced noise bylaw with clearer definitions, rules and a new enforcement team to help deal with noise complaints in our growing city," he said. 

The full bylaw can be found here.


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