Pickering's Sign By-law sets out the minimum requirements for all types of signs in the City. Depending on the sign, it may be necessary to obtain a permit or temporary license before you install it. It is important for you to confirm whether you need a permit or temporary license as some signs are entirely prohibited or restricted to certain locations.

Not sure whether your sign requires a permit or a license? Please contact the Building Services Clerk.

Sign Permits

Permanent signs and signs with structural components require permits, and are administered by the City Development Department.

The permit process protects business owners from unfair practices, ensures the safe erection of signs and related structures, and helps control visual clutter in the community.

A permit will be issued if the sign complies with the City's Sign By-law, the Zoning by-law, the Ontario Building Code, and other applicable laws and regulations.

It is the property owner's responsibility to comply with all sign requirements.

A sign permit is required for the following sign types:

  • Ground Signs
    Signs located on a structural base in or on the ground, but not part of a building, including a pylon sign. 
  • Wall Signs
    Signs attached to a building wall, including a canopy sign, and a sign that projects from a wall. 
  • Development Signs
    Temporary signs that advertise a proposed development. 
  • New Billboards
    A sign that permits periodic advertising of goods, products, or services that are not available at the location of the sign, or that directs a person to a location different from where the sign is located. The owner of a billboard must also obtain an annual licence to sell advertising on the billboard.

How to get a Sign Permit

  1. Complete a permit application
    Drop off your completed application to the City Development Department counter at the Pickering City Hall or fill one out there.
  2. Provide 2 copies of plans
    Submissions must include a site location plan, sign plans, specifications, documents and other information describing the construction, dimensions, materials of the proposed sign(s) in sufficient detail to determine whether the sign will comply with all necessary laws and regulations.
  3. Pay the permit fee 
    Please refer to the Schedule of Application Fees and Information Price List for a complete listing of sign permit fees. Sign Permit fees can be paid at the time of application.  Additional fees must be paid if the sign has been erected before the permit has been issued.  As fees are subject to change, you should confirm the correct amount with our staff before submitting your application. 

Timeframe to Obtain a Sign Permit

Sign permits are usually issued promptly if the proposed sign complies with the Sign By-law, property zoning, the Ontario Building Code, and other requirements, such as Ministry of Transportation, Ontario Heritage Act, or Site Plan Approval documents, if applicable.

Building Inspections

Please contact the Building Services Clerk to arrange an inspection. The City will conduct a site inspection before issuing the permit to confirm that the sign has not been unlawfully erected.

Electrical Inspections

Electrical inspections are completed independently by Ontario's Electrical Safety Authority. Call 1.877.372.7233 to arrange one.

Professional Engineering

A professional engineer may be required to design certain sign structures, such as a sign that is projecting from a wall weighing more than 115 kg.

Variances

For instances where your sign does not comply with the Sign By-law, you may apply for a variance.

When considering variance applications we consider:

  • the basis of the special circumstances that apply
  • the reasons why the by-law cannot be complied with
  • whether the proposal is consistent with the purpose and intent of the sign by-law