Sign Permits

A sign permit ensures that signs are constructed safely and controls any negative effect signs may have on the streetscape or surrounding neighbourhood. The following rules from the Municipality Act apply to a by-law of a municipality respecting advertising devices, including signs. Before passing the by-law, the municipality shall give public notice of its intention to pass the by-law. The by-law may prohibit and regulate the message, content and nature of signs, advertising and advertising devices, including any printed matter, oral or other communication or thing, promoting adult entertainment establishments, but nothing in this paragraph limits the power to pass by-laws with respect to any other business or person. The by-law may authorize the municipality to enter land and pull down or remove an advertising device, at the expense of the owner of the advertising device, if it is erected or displayed in contravention of the by-law. The by-law does not apply to an advertising device that was lawfully erected or displayed on the day the by-law comes into force if the advertising device is not substantially altered, and the maintenance and repair of the advertising device or change in the message or contents displayed shall be deemed not in itself to constitute a substantial alteration. The municipality may authorize minor variances from the by-law if in the opinion of the municipality the general intent and purpose of the by-law are maintained.

The Sign Permit Exceptions

All signs to be displayed in the City, whether on private or public property, require a sign permit from the Planning Department. The following exceptions are allowed and may be subject to limitations:

  • Interior Signs
  • A change in the message displayed on the sign or advertising device.
  • A temporary non-illuminated real estate sign.
  • A sign required to be erected and displayed by law.
  • A temporary non-illuminated sign related to candidacy for a federal, provincial or municipal election.
  • A non-illuminated directional sign.
  • Non-illuminated identification sign.
  • Signs used by places of worship, schools or civic organizations.
  • A plaque identifying a building or structure and its architectural or historical significance.
  • Temporary Construction Signs

The Sign Permit Process

Each application shall be accompanied by the required fee payable to The Corporation of the City of North Bay. Each application shall be accompanied by a plan to scale which indicates all of the true dimensions of the proposed sign, including the proposed height above grade, and further indicating location, the type of materials involved in the construction, lighting and support of the proposed sign. Additional information may be required.

Signs in the Downtown Improvement Area

An information brochure has been developed to assist with the Sign Permit requirements in the Downtown Improvement Area (DIA).

Special Considerations

A sign displayed on a building designated historical requires the approval of the North Bay Municipal Heritage Committee. Signs or advertising devices that can cause confusion with the traffic signs are prohibited.

Important To Keep In Mind

It is important to keep in mind that the signs or advertising devices be maintained in a state of proper repair at all times. Your sign permit can be revoked if it was issued on the basis of false or mistaken information. If a sign is considered by the Planning/Building inspections to be in a dangerous or defective condition, you will be notified of the violation and be required to remove or repair the sign within the time specified on the notice. If you fail to do this, the Planning/Building department will have the signs removed at the owner's expense. The City may recover the costs incurred through court action or by adding such costs to the municipal taxes.

Application Form


Elizabeth Courville
 Zoning Administrator
 (705) 474-0400 x2401
Beverley Hillier
 Manager, Planning Services
 (705) 474-0400 x2403