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noise bylaw – URGENT!

I could not feel more strongly about this: noise pollution is one of the great crimes of our city lives. Please read and respond immediately, Toronto bloggees. 

The City is about to change the Noise Bylaw — and not in our favour. It proposes to allow noise inside our homes from an outside source (amplified music, construction, clubs, etc.) at 85 dBA from 7 am to 11 pm. That is equal to a snow blower running all day in your home. ( New York City’s dBA limit for homes is 42 dBA.

  Noise Source Decibel
 Decibel Effect
Boeing 737 or DC-9 aircraft at one nautical mile (6080 ft) before landing (97 dB); power mower (96 dB); motorcycle at 25 ft (90 dB). Newspaper press (97 dB). 90 4 times as loud as 70 dB. Likely damage in 8 hour exposure.
Garbage disposal, dishwasher, average factory, freight train (at 15 meters). Car wash at 20 ft (89 dB); propeller plane flyover at 1000 ft (88 dB); diesel truck 40 mph at 50 ft (84 dB); diesel train at 45 mph at 100 ft (83 dB). Food blender (88 dB); milling machine (85 dB); garbage disposal (80 dB). 80 2 times as loud as 70 dB. Possible damage in 8 hour exposure.
Passenger car at 65 mph at 25 ft (77 dB); freeway at 50 ft from pavement edge 10 a.m. (76 dB). Living room music (76 dB); radio or TV-audio, vacuum cleaner (70 dB). 70 Arbitrary base of comparison. Upper 70s are annoyingly loud to some people.

The current General Prohibition protecting residents from being disturbed in their homes will be removed, and replaced with very high decibel limits that must be measured by a trained Municipal Licensing and Standards bylaw officer with calibrated equipment.  MLS bylaw officers are few, and never on call. The chances of getting good evidence are extremely low, so that effective reduction of a neighbour’s troubling noise is unlikely to occur.  

Many downtown areas share our problems, mostly from amplified sound and construction noise. We urge you strongly to insist on keeping the old bylaw, which protects residents from being disturbed in their own homes and allows them to present evidence of disturbance. The health effects of this amount of noise are considerable: 85 dBA is on the cusp of where hearing damage can occur, and prolonged noise at this level can affect health and, indeed, longevity. Provincial legislation limits the noise at point of reception — such as your home — to 50 dBA. The City now asks us to live with 85 dBA, which is 12 times the 50 dBA on a calibrated scale!

At present, the General Prohibition (591-1) protects residents from being disturbed in their own homes at all hours, whatever the source or decibel (DBa) level, and allows them to present evidence of disturbance. It should not be replaced by noise measurements which are difficult to obtain and may not protect our peace at home.  We strongly believe that the General Prohibition is an exemplary protection for the public which should stand and not be removed.

You have until Feb. 15, 2016 to add your voice. Here are the City documents:

Feel free to use this content in your protest:

  • I strongly protest the proposed changes to the City Noise Bylaw. I request that the General Prohibition (591-1), which protects residents from being disturbed in their own homes at all hours, and allows them to present evidence of disturbance, remain unchanged.
  • No multiple noise exemptions can be granted to concert venues, but must be granted one by one and be approved by the local city councillor.

Send your email or letter to:
Jessica Walters
Senior Policy and Research Officer
Municipal Licensing and Standards
City Hall, 100 Queen Street West, West Tower, 16th Floor
Toronto, ON, M5H 2N2

Please share this information with others.

You can speak to this issue at the next public meeting by Municipal Licensing and Standards on February 17th, 2016 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at City Hall, 2nd Floor, Committee Room 1



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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