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Community Standards Bylaw

The safety and well-being of residents and visitors, as well as creating a vibrant and enjoyable community where everyone feels included, are priorities for the City of Kingston. The intent of the Community Standards Bylaw is for community members to work together to create a healthy, safe and vibrant city for all residents and visitors by guiding appropriate conduct and use of public places.

On June 29, 2022, Council directed staff to draft a bylaw that would help deter certain types of nuisance behaviours in the community. Based on extensive consultation and research, the Community Standards Bylaw provides municipal bylaw enforcement officers tools to address a variety of nuisance behaviours that interfere with the public’s right to use and enjoy public places or that negatively impact the safety, comfort, or wellbeing of the community. Many municipalities across Canada have some form of bylaw that regulates various types of nuisance behaviours.

The Community Standards Bylaw applies city-wide to a variety of public matters including:

Storing garbage, animal excrement, compost or any other substance in a manner that becomes a nuisance by emitting offensive odours from a premises onto another premise or attracting wildlife or pests is not permitted, subject to certain exceptions.


The best way to reduce garbage odours is timely set-outs. Waste accumulation, especially when left outside, can lead to offensive odours when mixed with the elements.

Maintaining a regular garbage schedule will help avoid accumulation and assure that it is properly collected by City services every week. Please separate your garbage in compliance with City standards. Learn more on the Garbage & Recycling webpage.

Property owners and contractors engaged in construction activities must take the appropriate measures to reduce the impacts of dust emissions and loose construction materials onto neighbouring properties.

Recognizing that some loose dust is unavoidable during construction, the bylaw identifies reasonable preventative measures such as wetting building materials, installing wind fencing, and regular cleaning of the construction site, etc. to prevent construction dust from escaping. There is also a list of exceptions primarily related to activities regulated by other provincial legislation.


Construction dust is very disruptive to the environment as dust pollution contributes to reducing air quality, soil degradation, and water contamination.

To prevent loose construction materials from blowing away, consider secure storage that is sheltered from wind such as a storage facility or covered bin, tarps or covers that are tightly secured, weighing down lightweight materials, erecting temporary windbreaks or barriers around the construction site, planning construction activities to minimize exposure to windy conditions whenever possible, communication and education for workers and compliance with measures for preventing material loss, and regular inspection and clean-up of the worksite.

The idling provisions in the bylaw are intended to replace the existing anti-idling bylaw and to update the City’s standards on idling to reflect current federal recommendations, environmental considerations, and best practices.

Vehicles or boats are not permitted to idle for more than one minute in a 60-minute period. Like the existing anti-idling bylaw, the idling provisions contain exceptions for emergency vehicles, ferry and tour boats, armoured vehicles, Kingston Transit vehicles and vehicles that contain work equipment that must be powered by a vehicle engine.


It’s better to turn off the engine if a vehicle or boat is going to be parked for more than one minute.

Idling a vehicle or boat for extended periods wastes fuel, increases emissions, and can cause unnecessary wear and tear on the engine.

Did you know?

Operating vehicle emits a range of gases into the atmosphere, one of which is carbon dioxide CO2 – the principal greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change? One simple and effective way to reduce the production of CO2 emissions from vehicles is by choosing to eliminate unnecessary vehicle idling. Idling for over 10 seconds uses more fuel and produces more CO2 compared to restarting the vehicle’s engine.

However, as a more practical guideline, balancing factors such as fuel savings, overall emissions and potential component wear on the starter and battery, 60 seconds is the recommended interval by Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN) and the standard for the City of Kingston.

While the feeding of wildlife may seem harmless, it can lead to serious negative outcomes for both the public and wildlife. The bylaw prohibits the feeding of wildlife, subject to certain exceptions, on both private and public property.

Did you know?

It is important to understand the negative impact that feeding wildlife can have on both humans and wildlife. When you feed wildlife, it can:

  • Lead to animals becoming dependent on artificial food sources and the loss of natural foraging skills
  • Cause animals to lose their innate fear of humans, which can lead to dangerous encounters with people
  • Create an excessive accumulation of waste and feces
  • Make animals sick, as artificial food sources are not healthy for wildlife and reduce the amount of quality food intake
  • Lead to property damage caused by rodents, birds, raccoons, etc.
  • Lead to animals gathering in large numbers, causing increased disease and sickness

Review the Wildlife page to learn more about different types of human-wildlife interactions and how to determine the best course of action.

The bylaw prohibits disturbing and dumping of donated goods except within a designated receptacle or bin, to ensure these sites are used appropriately, and the area around the textile collection bin is kept tidy.

It also regulates the delivery of unwanted flyers at residences where there is a visible sign or notice at the entrance of the premises indicating that the flyers are not wanted. There is a list of exemptions, including, among other things, flyers related to election advertising material and community association letters.


To keep textile collection sites tidy, residents are asked to avoid using a textile collection bin that is full. Disturbing the contents or dumping around the collection bin is not permitted.

The provisions related to flyers are intended to limit the number of unwanted flyers at residences and address residents’ wishes when they do not wish to receive flyers and have posted a sign or notice to indicate this.

To protect the health, safety and welfare of all residents and visitors in the community, the bylaw contains prohibitions against behaviours that are disruptive or dangerous to the public including, but not limited to:

  • Engaging in or permitting conduct that is likely to disturb or interfere with the reasonable enjoyment of another person in a public place
  • Urinating or defecating in a public place
  • Participating in a fight in a public place
  • Loitering on a highway or sidewalk in a manner that impedes the free movement of pedestrians
  • Causing an obstruction on a highway such as depositing materials during transport, or damaging the surface of a highway
  • Loitering in any public washroom or changeroom
  • Engaging in a lewd sexual activity in a public place
  • Using or displaying drug paraphernalia in specified areas
  • Engaging in or permitting the unsafe disposal of needles or syringes in a public place

The intent of these provisions is to promote a vibrant community that is welcoming and accessible for everyone.

All residents and visitors should be able to enjoy all Kingston has to offer while feeling safe in public places. The bylaws provides City bylaw enforcement officers the opportunity to respond to complaints where they previously had no jurisdiction. It also allows for collaboration with the City’s partner agencies to provide support services and education to help regulate nuisance behaviours that interfere with the safety and the reasonable enjoyment of others in a public place.

Retail establishments must take reasonable measures to prevent shopping carts from being removed from the business premises. Reasonable measures include, among other things, cart corrals with built-in coin chains, signage, security gates, or any other services or measures designed to deter theft or unlawful removal.

Retail establishments must have a written shopping cart retrieval program in place to retrieve abandoned shopping carts and respond to complaints from the public in a reasonable timeframe, subject to safety considerations.

Every retail establishment must ensure that its shopping carts are locked or otherwise secured when the retail establishment is not open for business.

Every retail establishment must post removal warning signage at all entrances to the retail establishment containing a statement to the effect that the unauthorized removal of a shopping cart from a retail establishment is a criminal offence.


Abandoned shopping carts create potential hazards, interfere with pedestrian and vehicular traffic, and constitute a public nuisance. If you find abandoned carts, please notify the appropriate retail establishment, or return it.

The destruction or vandalization of City property is an offence under the bylaw. Any activity that results in the removal, destruction, damaging, tampering with, mutilating, or altering the appearance of any City property, is not permitted.


It is expected that all community members respect City property. Any acts of vandalism, such as removing, destroying, damaging, defacing, or tampering with City property, including but not limited to highways or transit vehicles operated by Kingston Transit, should be promptly reported. This ensures the safe use of these facilities by all community members.

To report a Community Standards infraction during our business hours, call 613-546-4291 ext. 3135 or email

The City of Kingston acknowledges that we are on the traditional homeland of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and the Huron-Wendat, and thanks these nations for their care and stewardship over this shared land.

Today, the City is committed to working with Indigenous peoples and all residents to pursue a united path of reconciliation.

Learn more about the City's reconciliation initiatives.

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