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Canadian noise regulations + bylaws: what you need to know

photo of construction worker with drill

Construction trucks beeping as they reverse. Children yelling to their friends across the street. Dogs barking at a stranger walking by. Whether you’re renting or a homeowner, your neighbourhood is bound to have noise. The bigger the city, the more noise there will be. 

Neighbourhood noise chart

How much noise is being made in your future neighbourhood? A home that’s positioned on a quiet street will have significantly less sound pollution than one that’s in a large city, near a train station. To better gauge how much noise might be in your neighbourhood, take a look at this chart covering levels of common neighbourhood noises.

Decibels (dB) measure the intensity of sound. Since the scope of hearing is so wide, the decibel scale is vast. The smallest audible sound is 0 dB. A sound that’s 10 times more powerful than the smallest sound is 10 dB. If a sound is 100 times more powerful than that, it’s measured at 20 dB. To help visualize this scope of sound, look at where common neighbourhood noises land on the decibel scale. 

Graphic that shows neighbourhood noise levels

Some notable levels include:

  • Quiet room – 40dB
  • Conversation – 50dB
  • Passenger car 60km/hr – 65 dB
  • Train, average factory – 80 dB
  • Diesel truck 50km/hr – 85 dB
  • Power lawn mower (at 1 metre) – 92 dB
  • Subway, shouted conversation – 95 dB
  • ATV, motorcycle, jet take-off (at 305 metres) – 100 dB
  • Baby crying – 100–120 dB
  • Chainsaw, leaf or snow blower, snowmobile, rock concert, thunder – 120 dB

While you expect some commotion, there are regulations in place to help limit the noise so it doesn’t interfere with your quality of life. Knowing these regulations will help keep your neighbourhood quieter and more content. 

To help you find peace in your neighbourhood, we have a guide on the noise regulations in the top 10 most populated cities in Canada. The cities are organized from most populated to least, based on the 2016 Canadian census data. Each city has different rules and specifications. Read through carefully to understand your rights and how to file a complaint in your city. 

Jump to your city:

Noise regulations in Toronto

graphic that shows the noise bylaws in Toronto

Toronto is Canada’s largest city, home to 2.7 million residents. With the bustling and vibrant culture comes plenty of noise. Luckily, the Toronto Noise Bylaw provides a standard for the citizens of Toronto. 

Amplified sound regulation

Continuous amplified sound, or sound made by any electronic device or loudspeakers, is not permitted at a sound level exceeding 50dB from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. or 55 dB from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Animals

Do not cause or permit barking, calling, whining or other persistent noise by any animal. If you’re renting with pets, you have a responsibility to keep them quiet. 

Construction

Prohibit sound from operating construction equipment on Sundays and holidays. It is also forbidden from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. on all other days, except for 9 a.m. on Saturdays. 

Loading and unloading

Sound emission from loading, unloading, delivering, packing, unpacking and handling any containers, products or materials is not allowed between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. the next day, except until 9 a.m. Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays. 

Motor vehicles

Prohibit unnecessary motor vehicle noise such as horns, revving of an engine, squealing of tires, banging and clanking. Sound from repairing, rebuilding or modifying a vehicle is not allowed between 9 p.m and 7 a.m, except until 9 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays. Motorcycle noise exceeding 92 dB while the engine is idle is not permitted. 

Power devices (not applicable to golf courses or public parks)

Sounds from power devices such as leaf blowers, chain saws, lawnmowers and grass trimmers aren’t permitted from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. the next day, except until 9 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays. 

Stationary source and residential air conditioners

Sound from a stationary source or residential air conditioner can’t exceed 50 dB. 

Unreasonable and persistent noise

Noise not addressed above cannot be unreasonable and persistent. 

How to file a noise complaint in Toronto

If you have a noise complaint, start by going to the source. Speak with the person responsible for making the noise so they have the chance to correct the issue. If this doesn’t work, you can report the noise violation to 311 by phone within the city limits or email at 311@toronto.ca. 

Noise regulations in Montreal

graphic that shows montreal noise bylaws

While it’s known for its history, Montreal has grown with the times and is now a hub of modern attractions. This city houses 1.7 million residents. With so many hot spots and people visiting them, additional noise is inevitable. 

The noise regulations in Montreal differ based on the borough you live in. In general, a police officer can issue a ticket if they hear noise prohibited under the noise by-law. Prohibited noise is loosely defined as noise produced by sound equipment, a siren or alarm device (except if it has a permit), cries, clamours, singing, altercations, cursing or uproar. 

You can search for specific by-laws on the Montreal website. To learn more information about your circumstance, it’s suggested that you contact your borough office

How to file a noise complaint in Montreal

If you’ve looked up the noise by-laws in your area and find that someone is in violation, let them know. Sometimes a simple conversation can dissolve the issue. 

If the noise persists, contact the non-emergency line of your borough. If it is an emergency, call 9-1-1. 

Noise regulations in Calgary

Graphic that shows the calgary noise bylaws

Calgary is a city of 1.2 million that prohibits unnecessary noise. Each resident is responsible for not creating noises that might disturb others. Looking at the Calgary noise bylaws will give you a better understanding of the rules in your Calgary neighbourhood

Amplified sound regulation

The bylaws prohibit outdoor speaker systems within 150 metres of a residential development between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Monday through Sunday. During the Calgary Stampede adjusted hours are midnight and 7 a.m.

Animal noise

Owners of animals have a responsibility to ensure that the animal will not bark, howl or otherwise make noise that disturbs any person. 

Power devices (not applicable to golf courses or public parks)

You may not operate a hand lawnmower, motorized garden tool, power tool, model aircraft, snow clearing device (if it’s been over 48 hours since snowfall), leaf blowing device or sports ramp between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Monday to Saturday and 10 p.m. to 9 a.m. Sundays and on holidays. 

Traffic and vehicle noise

A moving vehicle can’t emit noise measured at 96 dB or more, as it’s considered objectionable noise. Objectionable noise is also any sound that comes from a motor vehicle that annoys or disturbs humans. 

This includes the squeal of a tire, a roaring or explosive sound, radio or stereo, vehicle-mounted amplification equipment, the sound of a diesel engine bus idling for longer than three minutes and the sound of a vehicle security system for a period longer than one minute or more than three times in 24 hours.

Unreasonable and persistent noise

In non-residential developments, prohibit any continuous sound.. This includes noise that is 85 dB or 5 dB over the ambient noise level, measured over one hour during the day or night. 

How to file a noise complaint in Calgary

If you’ve already taken steps to try to remedy the noise issue, you can file a complaint with Calgary Community Standards. To do this, dial 311 (from within Calgary) or 403-268-CITY (2489) (from outside Calgary). 

When you call, you’ll need to provide your name, address, phone number, address of the location for which you want to register a complaint and a brief description of the complaint. 

Noise regulations in Ottawa

graphic that shows the ottawa noise bylaws

Ottawa residents don’t have to live with neighbours keeping them up all night with loud parties or construction waking them up at 6 a.m. The Ottawa noise bylaws are meant to maintain a peaceful community. Below are some important highlights from these Ottawa noise regulations. 

Amplified sound regulation

A loudspeaker can’t disturb others between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. with the exception of 9 a.m. on Saturday and noon on Sundays or holidays. 

Prohibit sound greater than 45 dB (measured in a neighbouring residence) between the hours of 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Animal noise

Animals can’t make noises that disturb the peace, rest, quiet, enjoyment and comfort of any person in the neighbourhood or vicinity.

Bells, horns, shouting

Do not use the above items to disturb other inhabitants of the city. Exceptions include religious events, use by City Hall between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., fire bells and alarms that warn of danger and car alarms sounding for less than five minutes. 

Power devices

Devices such as chainsaws, power lawn mowers, leaf blowers, power tools, air conditioners, heat pumps, compressors, exhaust systems and filtration systems cannot operate weekdays between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. and weekends between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m.

Traffic and vehicle noise

You can not cause unnecessary motor vehicle noise such as revving an engine, squealing tires or sounding a horn. 

Bylaws prohibit the operation of any construction vehicle or equipment between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. with the exception of 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sunday and holidays. 

Snow removal and aircrafts

The bylaws do not apply to snow removal and snow clearing, which includes plowing, salting and removing snowbanks. Aircraft noise is not under the jurisdiction of the City of Ottawa. For aircraft complaints, contact the Ottawa International Airport. 

How to file a noise complaint in Ottawa

To file a noise complaint in Ottawa, use 311 online.

Additionally, here are some helpful links for: 

Noise regulations in Edmonton

graphic that shows the edmonton noise bylaws

The regulations in place in Edmonton include a daytime decibel limit for a residential area set at 65 dB (between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.), and the overnight decibel level can’t exceed 50 dB (between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.). We’ve highlighted additional Edmonton noise bylaws that make the city an enjoyable place to live. 

Animal noise

According to the animal licensing and control bylaw, dog owners have the responsibility to ensure their pet does not bark in a manner that will annoy or disturb the peace of others. 

Construction activity

Bylaws do not permit construction activity between the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. every day except for Sundays and holidays. On Sundays and holidays, it’s not permitted between the hours of 7 p.m. and 9 a.m.

Traffic and vehicle noise

Excessive vehicle noise has become an issue within the city. Drivers of motor vehicles can get tickets for unnecessary noise. This includes loud stereos, modified exhaust systems, revving and careless use of the motor vehicle that generates noise which disturbs others. 

How to file a noise complaint in Edmonton

If you have an issue with a noisy neighbour, it’s best to confront them. If the issue persists, you can file a complaint with the city. 

To report a general noise complaint, visit Edmonton 311. Email vehicle noise complaints to trafficcomplaints@edmontonpolice.ca.

Noise regulations in Mississauga

graphic that shows the mississauga noise bylaws

Directly to the west of  Toronto, is Mississauga — home to more than 700,000 residents. If you’re looking for a new place to settle, this may be a good place to find a rental property. The city encourages every citizen to be a good neighbour by following the Mississauga noise bylaws.

Amplified sound regulation

The bylaws prohibit the operation of electronic devices, such as loudspeakers, in residential areas from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m with the exception of 9 a.m. on Sundays. 

Animal noise

The animal bylaws do not permit persistent barking, calling, whining or persistent noise at any time by any domestic pet.

Construction activity

If you are building or renovating a home, the City of Mississauga has a Good Neighbours Guide for you to follow. The noise bylaws also prohibit construction equipment’s operation in connection with construction in residential areas from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m and on all Sundays and holidays.

Power devices

The operation of any powered tool for domestic purposes aside from snow removal is not permitted in a residential area between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. with the exception of 9 a.m. on Sundays.

Additional noise

Do not yell, shout, hoot, whistle or sing in a way that disturbs others in residential areas between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. The exception is 9 a.m. on Sundays.

How to file a noise complaint in Mississauga

If you’ve already tried to resolve the noise issue with a conversation, you can report excessive noise to the City of Mississauga. 

The website states that you should report noise from parties, domestic disputes or yelling to the police immediately.

Noise regulations in Winnipeg

graphic that shows the winnipeg noise bylaws

Winnipeg is the capital of Manitoba, making it a large city hub with plenty of history. However, this city’s hustle and bustle can get loud, so they created a neighbourhood liveability bylaw that addresses noise control. 

Amplified sound regulation

A person cannot sell anything by shouting or amplified sound within a residential or commercial district. 

Animal noise

Both humans and animals cannot make unreasonably loud, unnecessary or excessive sounds; noise that endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of a reasonable individual; or a noise that’s harsh, prolonged or unnatural that causes discomfort. 

Power devices

You can not operate a mechanical powered saw, drill, sander, grinder, lawn or garden tool, snowblower, or similar device within 150 metres of residential property between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. on weekdays and 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. on weekends and holidays. 

Traffic and vehicle noise

A person must not repair, rebuild, modify or test any motor vehicle, motorboat or recreational vehicle within 150 metres of residential property between the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. on weekdays and 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. on weekdays and holidays.

How to file a noise complaint in Winnipeg

If the noise continues after you’ve vocalized your complaint, you can report it to the City of Winnipeg. Report any loud, excessive noise by using the Winnipeg Police Service’s non-emergency line at 204-986-6222. Report other sources of noise by phone to 311 or email at 311@winnipeg.ca.

Noise regulations in Vancouver

graphic that shows the vancouver noise bylaws

Many of Canada’s west coast dwellers call Vancouver home. Over 600,000 residents enjoy the contrast of the diverse city and lush mountain scenes. If a neighbourhood noise is hindering your enjoyment of the city, the Vancouver noise bylaws probably address it. 

Amplified sound regulation

If a residential building connects to a commercial building, the commercial building can’t make any sounds from radio, television, musical instruments or voice amplification that causes a disturbance.

Animal noise

Noises from household animals can’t unreasonably disturb the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort or convenience of another person not on the premises. 

Construction activity

Bylaws do not permit construction noise that disturbs the quiet, peace, rest and enjoyment of the public between 8 p.m. and 7:30 a.m. on weekdays and 8 p.m. and 10 a.m. on Saturdays. 

Power devices

A person should not use or operate power equipment that causes a sound exceeding 77 dB when measured at 15.2 metres. Also, a person must not cause noise using power equipment at any time other than the daytime. 

Specifically, leaf blowers can only operate within 50 metres of residential property. You can’t use them between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. on weekdays and 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. on Saturday. Only use “low noise” leaf blowers in the city. 

How to file a noise complaint in Vancouver

The first step to solving the noise disturbance in your neighbourhood is confronting the person making the sound. If that doesn’t work, contact Vancouver’s 311 line. You can also submit a noise concern through the City of Vancouver

Noise regulations in Brampton

graphic that shows the brampton noise bylaws

The suburban city of Brampton, nestled in the south of Ontario, is home to almost 600,000 residents. Many Toronto commuters find peace in Brampton’s quiet family neighbourhoods, and the city would like to keep it that way. To ensure a pleasant atmosphere, they constructed the Brampton noise bylaws

The Brampton City Council passed a bylaw that will curb any persistent and recurring noise that lasts longer than ten days. Some examples include a dog barking daily, someone playing a loud stereo or musical instrument regularly or operating construction equipment daily. 

Noise from fighting, screaming, shouting, swearing or obscene language may be a criminal offence. Report it to the non-emergency police line. 

How to file a noise complaint in Brampton

To report a noise complaint, you can use the Brampton non-emergency phone or email. If the noise is ongoing, fill out the noise reporting package to file a claim officially. 

Noise regulations in Hamilton

graphic that shows the hamilton noise bylaws

Hamilton is a port city that’s home to 500,000 residents. To ensure the community is happy, the Hamilton noise control bylaws prohibit any unreasonable noise or noise that is likely to disturb neighbours in Hamilton. 

Amplified sound regulation

Unreasonable noise includes a radio, amplifier, speaker or similar device that’s audible eight metres from any vehicle. It also includes a radio, amplifier or speaker projected into a public space for advertising. 

Animal noise

An animal that is under the ownership of an individual can’t make noise that’s persistent and audible from the point of reception. This excludes noises from farm animals.

Construction activity

Bylaws prohibit construction noise between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

How to file a noise complaint in Hamilton

It’s important to confront the noisemaker about the issue. They may have a permit allowing them an exception from the noise bylaw. 

If they don’t and the noise continues, you can register a bylaw complaint with the city of Hamilton. 

Final thoughts

Reducing the noise in your neighbourhood is a team effort. Familiarizing yourself with the noise bylaws for your city will help you know what guidelines to follow. Work to reduce your noise pollution and feel confident reporting a noise violation in your area. 

Do not contact 911 for a noise complaint unless it’s an emergency. Instead, contact your local 311 non-emergency line or use an online resource outlined above. 

Together, we can create quiet, peaceful and enjoyable neighbourhoods where we are happy to live. For more city insights and neighbourhood advice, check out the Zolo Blog

Sources:

Wikipedia | CCOHS | WHO | Eastern Kentucky University | City of Toronto | SPVM | City of Ottawa

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Romana King

Romana King is an award-winning personal finance writer, real estate expert and the current Director of Content at Zolo Homebase. Romana has contributed to business and lifestyle publications including CBC.ca, Toronto Sun, Maclean’s, MoneySense, Globe & Mail Custom Content Team, and The Toronto Star. Among her achievements, Romana won silver for her annual Where to Buy Now real estate package in the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. In 2015, she won a SABEW Business Journalism award. When she was editor of CI Top Broker, Romana helped guide her team to obtain its first KRW Business Journalism nomination, and in 2011, she was part of a small team that helped MoneySense win Magazine of the Year at the 34th annual National Magazine Awards. Her north star is to consistently provide actionable, valuable and accurate information that helps elevate the financial literacy of everyone.