If you’re building or installing a permanent, portable or temporary sign in Kitchener, you need to apply for and obtain a sign permit. You may also need a variance if your sign doesn’t meet our requirements.

On this page:

  1. Sign bylaw
  2. Permanent signs
  3. Portable signs
  4. Temporary signs
  5. Variance requests
  6. Sign variance requests under review
  7. Report an illegal sign

Sign bylaw

Our sign bylaw regulates the location and sizes of signs installed in the city. Our guidelines ensure signs are safely installed and won’t impede visibility.

Permanent signs

If you want to install a permanent sign, please read our submission requirements before submitting a permanent sign permit application.

If your sign does not follow these submission requirements, you will need to get an exemption by requesting a variance.

A professional engineer must design permanent signs when they:

  • project from a building and weigh more than 25 kg or 55 lbs
  • are freestanding and taller than 1.8 metres or 5.9 feet above ground

Portable signs

Portable signs may only be placed in approved locations. A maximum of six permits may be issued for any one business or use per calendar year. To apply for a permit, complete our portable sign permit application.

Send us an email if the subject property does not have a valid sign location and you want to apply for one.

Temporary signs

You can receive a temporary permit for inflatable signs and banners. There is a maximum of six permits a year for a business or specific use.

To apply for a permit, complete a temporary sign permit application.

Variance requests

If your sign doesn’t meet our bylaw requirements, you’ll need to request a variance. The variance process is:

  • apply for a variance (download the application form) and pay the fee
  • a notice of application will be posted on our website
  • property owners within 120 metre radius receive written notice of the request and can provide comments
  • planning staff will circulate the application for feedback from other departments deemed relevant

After you apply for and receive a variance, you will need to apply for and obtain a sign permit.

Variance approval

Approval may be subject to conditions determined by staff. If staff do not support the application, you can appeal staff’s recommendation to city council.

If the variance is considered minor and there are no concerns, the process will take approximately four weeks to complete.

If in the variance request is worthy of consideration but not minor, the application will be processed as a bylaw amendment that would be considered by city council.

Sign variance requests under review

These sign variance requests are currently under review:

Report an illegal sign

If you see a sign that doesn't comply with our sign bylaw, you can report it online.

Report an illegal sign