Notice re: Sign By-law 6999/09. The City of Pickering has initiated a Sign By-law Review, with the intent to create a new consolidated Sign By-law. Information on the status of this review will be posted to our Sign By-law Review web page.

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 Department.

Why apply for a Sign Permit?

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.

When is a Sign Permit required?
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 apply for a Sign Permit

All applications for Sign Permits must be submitted electronically, using our online form. We are no longer accepting hard copy applications at our front service counter.

  1. Submit an online permit application form, or contact Building Services directly at 905.420.4631 to obtain a copy of the form.
  2. Submitting digital 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. We have made the permanent switch to fully digital, please submit documents in PDF format. Contact a Building Services clerk directly at 905.420.4631 for a unique link to upload files.
  3. Pay the permit fee: Refer to the Schedule of Application Fees and Information Price List for a complete listing of sign permit fees. As fees are subject to change, you should confirm the correct amount with our building services staff before submitting your application. 
How long does it take to get 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 for Sign Permits
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 for new Signs
Electrical inspections are completed independently by Ontario's Electrical Safety Authority. Call 1.877.372.7233 to arrange one. 
When is a Professional Engineer required for sign designs?
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. 
What to do if your sign does not comply?  How to get a Variance

If the proposed 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