The City of Toronto wants its residents to have fewer rude awakenings.

Today, Toronto City Council approved a new measure to limit noise in neighbourhoods and on city streets. 

Starting September 1 -- just in time for back-to-school -- the time allowed for power devise noise will be restricted by one extra hour on the morning on weekdays. Power devices like leaf blowers, lawnmowers, grass trimmers, and chainsaws, will be allowed from 8 am to 7 pm (changed from 7 am to 7 pm). Power device restrictions on Saturdays, Sundays, and statutory holidays remain unchanged, and noise is allowed from 9 am to 7 pm. 

But that’s not it on Toronto's noise-reduction front. 

According to a City-issued press release, to address excessive (super obnoxious) vehicle noise and illegally modified vehicles in Toronto, the City of Toronto will be submitting a request for the Government of Ontario to enforce a handful of new measures. This includes increasing the fines and assigning demerit points for modified exhaust and unnecessary vehicle noise offences under the Highway Traffic Act; developing stricter and more specific regulations related to vehicle modifications, including considering mechanisms for periodic inspections of vehicle exhausts and potential modifications; and making necessary regulatory changes to enable the City to initiate a noise activated camera/automated noise enforcement pilot project. 

Nabeel syed 2856 unsplash 1024x683Photo by Nabeel Syed on Unsplash

“Excessive vehicle noise, which in most cases is a result of vehicles that have been deliberately modified to create such a noise, is a major nuisance to residents in many neighbourhoods across Toronto,” says Toronto Mayor John Tory. “I strongly support today's Council decisions and remain committed to working with staff, the Toronto Police Service and the Government of Ontario to tackle excessive vehicle noise and other related concerns, such as speeding and stunt driving.”

In addition, Council has requested that the Toronto Police Services Board conduct additional joint vehicle enforcement blitzes with bylaw enforcement and explore equipping police officers with sound level meters to support enforcement of vehicle noise. The City will also educate licensed car repair facilities that muffler cut-outs, straight exhausts, gutted mufflers, Hollywood mufflers, by-passes, and similar devices are prohibited under the Highway Traffic Act.

The City plans to get its message across loud and clear to Toronto residents: public education initiatives will be launched during the summer and fall to educate about the appropriate use of leaf blowers, alternative ways to keep yards clean, green technologies, and steps to reduce sound from leaf blowers.

According to the City, a comprehensive review of the Noise Bylaw will be conducted in 2023 and will include public consultations. As part of this review, the City will: introduce a sound level limit for motor vehicles when their engines are idle; explore options for setting decibel limits for power devices; report back on technology developments related to noise-activated cameras/automated noise enforcement; examine the health impacts of access sound, in consultation with Toronto Public Health, and report on sound from City vehicles and fleets, including waste collection services. 

While the initiatives may anger some residents (like that overzealous early-rising neighbour or that obnoxious driver who's clearly overcompensating for something), they will also contribute to the rest and relaxation cause of Toronto residents at a time when the urban chaos has returned to the core.