I have a noise complaint. What can I do?

4. Think about making a noise complaint

You can contact the bylaw enforcement department in your municipality to find out how to make a complaint. Different cities have different ways to make a complaint. For example, in the City of Toronto, you can dial 3-1-1 to make a noise complaint.

Most municipalities will try to keep your name, address, and phone number confidential when you make a complaint.

Here are some common steps that municipal law enforcement officers may take after receiving a noise complaint:

Talk to you

An enforcement officer will likely contact you by phone or in person to review the information you provided and to discuss ways to resolve your concerns. The enforcement officer will probably also want to make sure you’re making notes about the noise, which can be used if you have to go to court.

Investigate

The enforcement officer will usually come to your property to try to hear the noise first-hand and to establish the identity of the person making the noise. The officer may try to visit your property several times. In many cases, however, the noise will have ended.

Talk to the person making the noise

The enforcement officer will usually try to solve the noise problem informally. They may contact the person making the noise by phone, in person, or in writing to discuss the problem, give information about noise restrictions, and to find a solution. In most cases, this is enough to resolve most complaints quickly.

Mediation

The enforcement officer may try to mediate the complaint between you and the person making the noise, if it is appropriate. The goal of mediation is to try to find a solution that works for everybody and that everyone will follow.

Cautions, warnings, and notices

If the enforcement officer believes that the noise breaks the noise bylaw, the officer can:

  • Caution or warn the person making the noise verbally or in writing. A warning is often enough to stop the noise and resolve the problem.
  • Give an Order to Comply or Notice to Comply to the person making the noise. These notices order the person to follow the noise bylaw by a certain date.

Tickets

As a last resort, the enforcement officer may charge the person making the noise by giving them a ticket. The person may be fined, but won’t go to jail.

In most cases, the person will have the option of paying a fine. If they don’t agree with the ticket, they can ask for a trial. A trial in Provincial Offences Court is less formal than a trial in criminal court. You may have to be a witness if this happens.

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