Ministry of Transportation / Ministère des Transports
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Corridor Signing Policy

9. Billboards

In this chapter:

  1. Message On The Billboard
  2. Billboard Requirements In Rural Area
  3. Billboard Requirements In Built-Up Or Urban Area
  4. Location Of Billboard Signs Related To Direction Of Travel Of Vehicles
  5. Angle Of Billboard Sign As Related To Highway
  6. Billboard Signs In City, Town, And Village Etc.
  7. Setback Distance For Billboard Signs
  8. Basic Setback Distances Must Be Maintained
  9. Setback Distance For Billboards In Built-Up Area
  10. Requirements Regarding Billboard Affixed To A Building
  11. Each Billboard Must Be Covered By A Permit Up To 5 Years
  12. Signs Must Be Placed Within Six Months Of Issuance Of Permit
  13. Message On Sign May Be Changed
  14. Changeable Message Sign
  15. Diagram: Billboard Signing - Spacing Requirements

A billboard sign is a sign which contains a message that is not related to the property that the sign is located on.

Billboard signs are not permitted within the controlled area adjacent to Class 1 and 2 highways. Refer to Chapter 10 for policies regarding Bush Country billboards.

  1. Message On The Billboard

    The message on the billboard must not promote violence, hatred, or contempt against any identifiable group. Identifiable group means any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, ancestry, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation or disability.

  2. Billboard Requirements In Rural Area

    A billboard sign which is located in an area designated as a rural area with a posted speed limit of more than 70 km/h or more must not:

    1. exceed 8 m (25 ft.) in height above the ground.
    2. exceed 60 m2 (650 ft2) in area.
    3. be placed within the controlled area adjacent to a Class 1 and 2 highways.
    4. be placed in or be allowed to overhang a daylighting area.
    5. be placed within 305 m (1000 ft.) of another billboard sign per direction, provided there are no left hand billboard signs facing the motorist.
    6. be affixed to or mounted upon or be made to form part of a fence.
    7. be placed within 91 m (300 ft.) of the limit of a road, street, or railway that intersects a highway at grade, or
    8. be placed adjacent to a curve where the radius is less than 1165 m radius (1.0 degree 30 minutes).
    9. must not contravene federal/provincial legislation. Must not advertise restricted products (i.e. tobacco).
  3. Billboard Requirements In Built-Up Or Urban Area
    A billboard sign which is located in an area designated as a built-up or urban area with a posted speed limit of less than 70 km/h must not:
    1. exceed 8 m (25 ft.) in height.
    2. exceed 60 m2 (650 ft2) in area.
    3. be placed within the controlled area adjacent to a Class 1 and 2 highways.
    4. be placed in, or be allowed to overhang, a daylighting area.
    5. be placed within 75 m (250 ft.) of another billboard sign per direction, provided there are no left hand billboard signs facing the motorist.
    6. be made to form a part of a building.
    7. be placed within 45 m (150 ft.) of the limit of a road, street or railway that intersects a highway at a grade
  4. Location Of Billboard Signs Related To Direction Of Travel Of Vehicles

    In situations where billboard signs have been placed to be viewed on the left hand side of the highway, no additional billboard signs will be permitted within the spacing requirements on the opposite side of the highway (refer to Diagram - Billboard Spacing Requirements).

  5. Angle Of Billboard Sign As Related To Highway

    The angle of a billboard sign as this relates to the centre line of a highway shall be equal to or greater than 45 degrees whether or not the sign is affixed to a building. That is, if the plane forming the face of the sign was extended in a straight line to intersect the centre line of the highway, the angle this formed would be at the minimum angle of 45 degrees.

  6. Billboard Signs In City, Town, And Village Etc.

    Billboard signs which are located within the limits of a city, town or village and adjacent to an assumed highway shall be subject to this policy. Billboard signs located adjacent to a connecting link are not controlled by the Ministry.

  7. Setback Distance For Billboard Signs

    The following setback distances shall apply to billboard signs:

    1. No signs are to be placed within 23 m (75 ft.) of the highway property line, except location signs and bush country signs.
    2. Signs up to and including 11.9 m2 (128 ft2) must be set back 23 m (75 ft.) from the highway property line.
    3. Signs over 11.9 m2 (128 ft2), but not over 18.60 m2 (200 ft2), must be set back 30 m (100 ft.) from the highway property line
    4. Signs over 18.60 m2 (200 ft2), but not over 30.19 m2 (325 ft2), must be set back 46 m (150 ft.) from the highway property line.
    5. Signs over 30.19 m2 (325 ft2), but not over 60.39 m2 (650 ft2), must be set back 84 m (275 ft.) from the highway property line.
    6. Signs greater than 60.39 m2 (650 ft2) will not be allowed within the controlled area.
  8. Basic Setback Distances Must Be Maintained

    The setback distances for billboard signs located other than in a built-up area must not be reduced to less than the setback distances set out in subsection 9.7- Setback Distance for Billboard Signs, regardless of the width of the right-of-way of the highway.

  9. Setback Distance For Billboards In Built-Up Area

    A billboard sign that is located within a built-up area must not be reduced to less than the setback distances set out in subsection 9.7 - Setback Distance for Billboard Signs, except when a building line approved by the Delegated Authority has been established. In such cases, the billboard sign may, if approved by the Ministry, be placed at less than the basic setback distance for billboard signs of a similar size but not closer to the highway than the approved building line.

  10. Requirements Regarding Billboard Affixed To A Building

    A billboard sign located adjacent to a highway may be affixed to a building providing the height of the sign does not exceed 8 m (25 ft.) above the ground. A billboard sign which is affixed to a building shall be on the right side of the highway, facing the motorist. Each such sign must conform to the basic setback provisions as set out above.

  11. Each Billboard Must Be Covered By A Permit Up To 5 Years

    A sign permit, issued by the Ministry, must be obtained for each billboard sign. It is a requirement of the Ministry that these permits be obtained, and that they be renewed annually up to a maximum period of five (5) years at which time a new application may be required from the initial date of the original permit. All sign permits issued prior to September 24, 1994, are not affected by the five (5) years and will remain until such time as the sign site becomes available.

    The sign permit will be issued in the name of the registered property owner for a sign located on private property. However, when the owner of the property has a documented arrangement with the advertiser/sign operator the sign permit may then be issued to the advertiser/sign operator.

    The permit is to be renewed annually by payment only. The advertiser/sign operator will be entered into the Ministry sign computer system and, therefore, the renewal notice will go to the advertiser/sign operator and not the property owner.

  12. Signs Must Be Placed Within Six Months Of Issuance Of Permit

    When a sign permit has been issued, the sign to which the permit applies must be placed or erected within six (6) months of the date of issuance of the permit otherwise the permit shall be void and shall be cancelled. When a permit is cancelled in accordance with this procedure, the fee shall not be refunded.

  13. Message on Sign May be Changed

    The message on a billboard for which a permit has been issued may be changed from time to time (poster panels). If the size and setback of the sign remains the same a new permit is not required. A new permit is only required when the size or setback has been changed.

  14. Changeable Message Sign

    Changeable message signs are permitted for billboards and must conform to the specifications and requirements set out in section 8.9 of this policy. The issuance of a permit will be based on the size and location of the sign and not the number of individual advertisements. There is no restriction as to the number of individual advertisements displayed on any one changeable message sign.

  15. Diagram: Billboard Signing - Spacing Requirements

    Where a billboard sign is permitted, the sign must not be placed within 305 m (1000 ft.) of another billboard sign per direction, provided there are no left handed billboard signs facing the motorists.  In situations where billboards signs have been placed to be viewed on the left hand side of the highway, no additional billboard signs will be permitted within the spacing requirements on the opposite side of the highway.