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Noise (By-law No.2017-255)

It is in the public interest to reduce the noise level in the City of Ottawa, so as to preserve, protect and promote public health, safety, welfare, and peace and quiet for the inhabitants of the City. For this reason, the City of Ottawa regulates noise through the Noise By-law (By-law No. 2017-255).

Highlights

The following are considered violations under the by-law:

  • Operating musical instruments, radios, TVs, stereos and similar devices between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. (9 a.m. on Saturday; noon (12 p.m.) on Sunday and statutory holidays), that disturbs others.
  • Using power equipment such as chainsaws, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, tools and similar devices between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. (9 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays).
  • Running equipment such as air conditioners, heat pumps, compressors, exhaust systems, and similar devices with noise exceeding 50 decibels when measured at the point of reception.
  • Ringing a bell, sounding of any horn, or shouting in a manner likely to disturb others (with some exemptions such as for places of worship).

The Chief of By-law Services may grant an exemption for special events or construction work.

View the entire by-law:

Noise By-law (By-law No. 2017-255) 

Report a Noise Complaint

In any community, some level of noise is to be expected. However, some noises are too loud and can interfere with day-to-day life. How much is too much noise?

What is loud noise? Car alarm or loud noise and shouting could be 120 decibels at point of reception Construction equipment and machinery could be decibels at point of reception Garbage and delivery trucks could be decibels at point o

Under Ottawa's Noise By-law (By-law No. 2017-255) the following would be considered noise violations:

  • Using power equipment such as chainsaws, lawn mowers or leaf blowers early in the morning or late at night
  • Disturbing others with loud noises from musical instruments, radios, TVs or stereos

Construction sites and special events are also sources of noise. There are rules about how noisy they can be and when they have to be quiet.

Note: The Director of By-law Services may grant an exemption for special events or construction work.

In every neighbourhood there are noises that could disrupt you or your neighbour’s day or evening. If noises are disturbing you at any time of day, you may make a noise complaint. They include:

View Noise By-law (By-law No. 2017-255)  Download a PDF.

Aircraft noise

The City of Ottawa has no jurisdiction over aircraft noise. Please contact the Ottawa International Airport 24-hour noise complaint service at 613-248-2023.

Barking dogs

A constantly barking dog can be loud and can disturb you or your neighbours. It could also be a violation of Ottawa’s Animal Care and Control By-law 2003-77.

Pet owners must prevent their pet from constant barking or causing other noise that disturbs people and the neighbourhood.

Report a noise complaint about barking dogs.

An Ottawa by-law officer will be in touch to help you with your complaint. 

Please refer to the Ottawa’s Animal Care and Control By-law 2003-77 for more information.

Alarms

If you hear a house alarm or are concerned about someone’s safety, call 911.

If a car alarm in your neighbourhood sounds for more than five minutes, it could be a violation of Ottawa’s Noise By-Law 2017-255.

Snow removal and vehicle back up alarms are not considered car alarms.

Note: When you report a noise complaint about a car alarm, you will need to provide the car’s license plate number.

Report a noise complaint about car alarms.

An Ottawa by-law officer will be in touch to help you with your complaint. 

Please refer to the Ottawa Noise By-law for more information

Construction sites or machinery

Construction:

It is a violation of Ottawa’s Noise By-Law 2017-255 for construction sites or heavy equipment to operate in any structure, highway or building:

  • Weekdays: Between 10 pm and 7 am
  • Weekends and holidays: Between 10 pm and 9 am

Further limits are placed on the demolition and construction of buildings in established residential neighbourhoods. Infill construction is not permitted:

  • Weekdays: Between 8 pm and 7 am
  • Weekends and holidays: Between 7 pm and 9 am

Report a noise complaint about construction sites or machinery.

An Ottawa by-law officer will be in touch to help you with your complaint.  Note: The Director of By-law Services may grant an exemption for construction work.

Equipment in your neighbourhood that cannot be operated too loudly include:

  • Chainsaws
  • Power lawn mowers
  • Leaf blowers
  • Power tools
  • Air conditioners
  • Heat pumps
  • Compressors
  • Exhaust systems
  • Filtration systems
  • Other noisy power tools

This type of power equipment should not be operated:

  • Weekdays: Between 9 pm and 7 am
  • Weekends and holidays: Between 9 pm and 9 am

Report a machine that’s too noisy in your neighbourhood.

In all cases an Ottawa by-law officer will be in touch to help you with your complaint.

Please refer to the Ottawa Noise By-law for more information.

Garbage or delivery vehicles

It is a violation of Ottawa’s Noise By-Law 2017-255 to operate garbage collection vehicles or heavy delivery vehicles:

  • Weekdays: Between 11 pm and 7 am
  • Weekends and holidays: Between 11 pm and 9 am

City waste collection is exempted, as are waste collection and deliveries in the downtown area illustrated in Schedule B of the Noise By-law.

Report a noise complaint about garbage collection.

Report a noise complaint about delivery vehicles.

In both cases an Ottawa by-law officer with be in touch to help with your complaint.

Please refer to the Ottawa Noise By-law for more information.

Loud noise or shouting

Having a party or an event? It could be a violation of Ottawa’s Noise By-law 2017-255 to make loud noises or emit reproduction sounds that disturb your neighbours:

This includes:

  • Loud music
  • Musical instruments
  • Radios
  • Televisions
  • Stereos
  • Computers
  • Shouting

During the daytime, between 7 am and 11 pm, any noise must be kept below the decibel limits set in the Noise By-law. Overnight, between 11 pm and 7 am, any noise that disturbs someone may be considered a violation.

Report a loud noise complaint.

Report a shouting complaint.

An Ottawa by-law officer will be in touch to help you with your complaint. 

Please refer to the Ottawa Noise By-law for more information.

Other Noises

Ringing a bell, blowing a horn or shouting or causing unusual noise in a manner that disturbs inhabitants of the City is an offence.

This does not apply to the ringing of bells in connection with a religious service.

Penalties

Fines range from $400 to $10,000 per offence.

Disclaimer

By-laws contained in this section have been prepared for reference purposes only. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of this information; however it is not to be used in place of actual by-laws.

Actual by-laws can be obtained at the following locations:

City Archives
James Bartleman Centre
100 Tallwood Dr. (Corner of Woodroffe)
Ottawa, Ontario
tel.: 613-580-2857
fax : 613-580-2614
e-mail: archives@ottawa.ca

Ottawa Public Library
120 Metcalfe, Ottawa Room
613-580-2945

Noise By-law Exemption Application

EXEMPTION REQUEST FOR SOUND REPRODUCTION DEVICES USED IN A SPECIAL EVENT

The Chief of By-law Services may grant an exemption for an event subject to the following conditions :

  • the event relates to live or recorded music or involves the use of a sound amplifying system or sound reproduction device operated in a reasonable manner in the context of the special event
  • the event shall not create noise likely to cause a nuisance or disturb the inhabitants or exceed 65 dBA when measured at the point of reception
  • the event shall not exceed eleven (11) calendar days
  • the time at which the event is to be terminated shall be agreed to by the affected Ward Councillor or Ward Councillors, the Director of By-law Services and the applicant and the event shall not continue beyond 0100 hours on Friday and Saturday and on Sunday only if the following Monday is a statutory holiday
  • an event shall not continue beyond 2300 hours on Sunday through Thursdays
  • the affected Ward Councillor or Ward Councillors are in agreement with granting the exemption
EXEMPTION REQUEST FOR CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT

The Chief of By-law Services may grant an exemption to subsection 13(1) for construction equipment subject to the following conditions :

  • the use of construction equipment shall not create noise likely to cause a nuisance or disturb the inhabitants or exceed 85 dBA when measured at the point of reception
  • the use of the construction equipment shall not continue for more than eight (8) hours on any one day
  • the duration of the exemption requested shall not exceed eleven (11) calendar days
  • the affected Ward Councillor or Ward Councillors are in agreement with granting the exemption
EXEMPTION REQUEST FOR TEMPORARY MOTOR RACING COMPETITIONS

The Chief of By-law Services may grant an exemption for motor racing competitions at temporary venues subject to the following conditions :

  • the competition does not exceed three (3) days
  • the affected Ward Councillor or Ward Councillors are in agreement with granting the exemption which will include the time of day at which the competition will commence and terminate
  • the motor vehicles shall be equipped with effective mufflers

A Noise By-law Exemption Application shall be made in writing to the Chief of By-law Services sixty (60) days prior to the special event, the use of the construction equipment, or the date of the temporary racing competition.

* Please note that there is a $50 fee for all noise exemption application.

Forward the completed application request to :

Service Ottawa Client Service Centre
101 Centrepointe Dr.
Ottawa, ON
K2G 5K7
Mail Code 04-05

noiseexemption@ottawa.ca