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Bylaws related to election signs

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The rules applicable to election signs depend on the type of property on which they are placed:

City sidewalks and boulevards

Election signs may be placed on sidewalks and boulevards at any time of the year.  They are generally treated in the same way as any other temporary sign and must comply with the rules set out in the Temporary Signs on Highways Bylaw 29M97:

In particular:

  • the name, address and phone number of the person who placed the election sign must be legibly stated on the sign, as well as the date on which the sign was placed.
  • an election sign cannot be placed on a sidewalk or boulevard:
    • for more than 14 consecutive days (*except during an Election Period – see table below);
    • for more than 24 hours following the date any advertised event concludes;

whichever is sooner.

  • There must be a minimum 20-metre space or buffer between election signs from the same candidate.
  • an election sign placed on a sidewalk or boulevard cannot:
    • have a sign face that is larger than 0.6 square metres;
    • be higher than 0.92 metres when measured from grade to the highest part of the sign;

(*except during an Election Period see table below).

  • an election sign, like any other temporary sign, is subject to a number of rules with respect to location and placement on a sidewalk or boulevard. In particular, an election sign cannot be placed in the following locations:
    • Playground zones
    • Closer than 2 metres from the curb or edge of the roadway
    • On any traffic island or median
    • Along prohibited roadways

Elections signs must also not be affixed to any of the following:

  • Streetlight poles
  • Traffic signal poles
  • Sound attenuation walls
  • Plus 15 bridges
  • Any Calgary Transit sign poles or structures

For all rules that apply to the placement of election signs on sidewalks and boulevards, please see the Temporary Signs on Highways Bylaw 29M97.

During an Election Period, election signs are granted limited relaxation from certain rules in the Bylaw. Specifically:

Prior to Election Period During Election Period 
Maximum Surface Size

0.6 square metres (2 feet x 3 feet)

3 square metres (4 feet x 8 feet)
Maximum Height from the Ground/Grade

0.92 metres (3 feet)

2.5 metres (8 feet)

Maximum Width N/A

3.05 metres

Display Period 14 consecutive days in the same location

Can be in the same location for the entire Election Period

Distance from Intersections 15 metres

15 metres if smaller than 0.6 m2

30 metres if larger than 0.6 m2

Rules for Sign Removal Must be removed after 14 consecutive days on display Must be removed within 72 hours after polls close

Click on image to enlarge.

An Election Period is defined as:

  • for Federal elections, the period starting from the issuance of the writ and ending after the close of polls;
  • for Provincial elections, the period starting from the issuance of the writ and ending after the close of polls; or
  • for Municipal elections (including school board elections), the period starting from the close of nominations and ending after the close of polls.

Parks and Pathways

According to the Parks and Pathways Bylaw, no person shall place a sign of any kind, commercial or otherwise, in a park unless otherwise authorized.

Fines for non-compliance

It is important that all candidates who participate in an election understand and follow our Temporary Signs on Highways Bylaw.

Failure to comply with the bylaw may result in the owner of the sign(s) receiving a penalty of $75 to $1000 per sign, as well as any costs associated with damage caused by the signs and the cost of the sign removal.

This is a brief overview of the bylaw. Please refer to the actual bylaw for more detailed information. Original copies of the bylaw are available at the City Clerk's office.

Signs on private property

With the homeowner’s permission, election signs are allowed on private property. All election signs on private property must comply with the Calgary Land Use Bylaw. If you have questions or concerns relating to an election sign on private property, call the Planning Call Centre at 403-268-5311.

Filing a complaint

If you know of a bylaw infraction and would like to report it, please call 3-1-1 (from within Calgary) or 403-268-CITY (2489) (from outside Calgary).

For more information, visit: How to file a complaint and what happens to it

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