In keeping with the City’s strategic vision to create a healthy and livable community, Kitchener council has passed a new anti-idling bylaw, requiring motorists to turn off their engines after 3 consecutive minutes of idling, unless in traffic. The new bylaw is just one of several actions taken by the City as part of its Community Climate Action Plan to achieve its goal of 80 per cent reduction in community-level greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“Each of us has a role to play in building a healthier and more sustainable future for our City,” said Councillor Margaret Johnson. “Idling creates unnecessary air pollution, emitting more than 40 hazardous pollutants into the air we breathe. Shutting off your engine, instead of idling, is one small step that has a big impact on our community, making it safer and more livable now and for future generations.”

The bylaw, which is now in effect, makes exceptions for extreme weather conditions, when the temperature outside the vehicle is greater than 27 degrees Celsius, including the humidex or less than 5 degrees Celsius, including the wind-chill. Other exceptions include:

  • Emergency vehicles while engaged in operational activities including training and patient transfer.
  • Vehicles assisting in an emergency activity, including tow trucks while engaged in hooking up to or moving another vehicle.
  • A vehicle containing equipment that must be operated in association with the vehicle.
  • Mobile workshops, while using the equipment that must be operated in association with the vehicle.
  • Vehicles where idling is required to repair the vehicle or prepare it for service.
  • Armoured vehicles, where a person remains inside the vehicle while guarding the contents of the vehicle, or while the vehicle is being loaded or unloaded.
  • Vehicles required to remain motionless due to an emergency, traffic, weather condition or mechanical difficulty over which the person driving the vehicle has no control.
  • Vehicles engaged in a parade or race or any other event authorized by Council.
  • Transit and passenger vehicles, while passengers are embarking or disembarking on route or at terminals.
  • Commercial vehicles using heating or refrigeration systems powered by the motor or engine for the preservation of perishable cargo.
  • Vehicles engaged in works undertaken for or on behalf of the Region, the City, or public utilities.
  • Vehicles engaged in normal farm practice.
  • Vehicles, including hybrid vehicles, that eliminate the emission of greenhouse gases and criteria air contaminants during the idling phase of operation.

“In areas with high volumes of traffic, such as school zones, excessive idling directly impacts the health and safety of all of us,” said Councillor Scott Davey. “Changing our behaviour, such as turning off your vehicle during drop offs and pick-ups, and only warming your vehicle for 30 seconds or less before driving are small but significant changes that ensure we are environmental stewards and responsible global citizens.”

The fine amount for idling in Kitchener is $75.

The City of Kitchener is committed to change for the good with its stringent anti-idling policy for fleet operators and a continued commitment to greening our fleet operations with idle-reduction kits, electric vehicle expansion, and biofuel integration.

For more information on Kitchener’s anti-idling bylaw read the Council report or visit To learn more about Kitchener’s climate actions plans visit

For more information: 
Shawn Falcao 
Manager, Corporate Communications