Oshawa looking to beef up enforcement of election signs

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Published August 14, 2023 at 1:57 pm

Oshawa wants to hear from citizens on a proposed election sign review, with more enforcement and fee collection powers high on the agenda.

In 2014 Council passed a by-law to regulate election signs on public and private property, generally allowing for placement on both subject to restrictions on timing, size and location. Four years later Council considered a committee recommendation to charge storage fees for signs found in violation, but the motion lost.

Other than a slight change last year to align with regional by-laws the regulations have remained unchanged since 2014.

During the 2022 election the City received numerous complaints – Legislative Services handled 94 complaints and removed 26 signs, while municipal law enforcement received 277 complaints and removed 816 signs – with most of the offending signs (754) retrieved by candidates. The remaining 62 were disposed of by the City. The most common reason for election sign removal was placement of signs too close to a highway followed by placement of election signs outside the allowed time frame.

On Voting Day staff were unable to record the total number of signs which were removed due to the high volume and feedback received since have given Council a clear message that stricter enforcement is needed.

Proposed changes include the banning of election signs on public property and of signage outside the ward where the candidate is running. The seven-day deadline to remove signs will now be three days and election signs in violation of the by-law would now be removed “immediately without notice or compensation.”

The cost of removal would also now be passed on to the tax roll of the candidate and a storage fee of $25 per sign would be enforced. Fees would be aligned with the Provincial Offences Act: Tier 1 – $75, Tier 2 – $175 and Tier 3 – $275.

Voters can review the proposed By-law online and provide feedback online on Connect Oshawa (connectoshawa.ca/ElectionSigns); or in person at Service Oshawa (City Hall) during regular business hours.

Feedback will be received until noon September 11.

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