Idling Law to be Reduced to 60 Seconds per Hour

Update: see previous November, 2009 post on this issue

fightyourtickets informed you through a November 20, 2009 post, that the City of Toronto was considering reducing the current three (3) minute per hour idling law, down to 60 seconds per hour, largely influenced by the report of Dr. David McKeown, The City of Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health (See November 2, 2009’s report)

The City of Toronto’s Board of Health will consider reducing the current law from three (3) minutes per hour idling bylaw to sixty second (60 seconds) per hour idling bylaw, during its’ May 3, 2010 meeting.

The proposed bylaw would look something like this (taken from the November 2, 2010 report – see link above):

Proposed Idling Control Bylaw

Chapter 517

§ 517-1. Definitions.
§ 517-2. Restrictions on idling; exceptions.
§ 517-3. Offences.
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Toronto 1998-10-02 by By-law No. 673-1998. Amendments noted where applicable.]

Traffic and parking—See Ch. 950.

§ 517-1. Definitions.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

BOAT — A ship or any other description of vessel not propelled by oar and includes a boat used exclusively for towing purposes, a water taxi and a boat used on water for living purposes.

IDLE — The operation of the engine of a boat or vehicle while the vehicle or boat is not in motion and not being used to operate auxiliary equipment that is essential to the basic function of the vehicle or boat, and “idling” has a corresponding meaning.

LAYOVER — A stopping point along a transit route used by transit vehicles to allow transit vehicles to adjust to service schedules.

A. A vehicle containing equipment that must be operated inside or in
association with the vehicle; or

B. A vehicle serving as a facility for taking measurements or making
observations operated by or on behalf of a municipality, public utility or police, fire or ambulance service.

OFFICIAL — A police officer, police cadet, municipal law enforcement officer or any person authorized to enforce this chapter.

STOPOVER — A scheduled delay at a transit vehicle terminal to allow transit vehicles to adjust to service schedules.

TRANSIT VEHICLE — Public transit vehicles, tour buses and motor coaches.

VEHICLE — A motor vehicle, trailer, traction engine, farm tractor or road-building machine as defined in the Highway Traffic Act and any vehicle drawn, propelled or driven by any kind of non-muscular power, but does not include cars of electric or diesel electric railways running only upon rails.

§ 517-2. Restrictions on idling; exceptions.

A. No person shall cause or permit a vehicle or boat to idle for more than one minute in a sixty-minute period.

B. [Amended 1999-5-12 by By-law No. 238-1999] Subsection A does not apply to:

(1) Police, fire or ambulance vehicles or police or fire boats engaged in
operational activities or training activities, but not where idling is substantially for the convenience of one or more of the operator of or a passenger in the vehicle or boat;

(2) Vehicles or boats assisting in an emergency activity;

(3) Ferry boats operated by the City of Toronto or the Toronto Harbour
Commissioners providing service to the Toronto Islands, including the
Toronto Island Airport;

(4) Boats, unless the boat is at anchor or tied to a dock;

(5) Mobile workshops while they are in the course of being used for their basic function;

(6) Vehicles or boats where idling is required to repair the vehicle or boat or to prepare a vehicle or boat for service;

(7) Armoured vehicles where a person remains inside the vehicle while
guarding the contents of the vehicle or while the vehicle is being loaded or unloaded;

(8) Vehicles or boats required to remain motionless because of an emergency,
traffic, weather conditions or mechanical difficulties over which the operator
of the vehicle or boat has no control;

(9) Vehicles or boats engaged in a parade, a race or any other event authorized
by Council;

(10) Transit vehicles while passengers are embarking or disembarking;

(11) Transit vehicles while at a layover or stopover location, but not if
the idling is substantially for the convenience of one or more of the operator
of or a passenger in the vehicle; or

(12) A vehicle or a boat transporting a person where a medical doctor
certifies in writing that for medical reasons the person in the vehicle or the
boat requires that temperature or humidity be maintained within a certain

§ 517-3. Offences.
[Amended 1999-11-25 by By-law No. 746-1999]

Every person who contravenes any provision of this chapter is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine as provided for in section 61 Provincial Offences Act (Under section 61 of the Provincial Offences Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.33, a person convicted of this offence is liable to a fine up to $5,000).

After this is discussed on May 3, 2010 the new Idling Law will be put into place (with the current fine of $125.00 to $5,000.00 perhaps being increased).

The City of Toronto’s Board of Health’s Chairperson is City Councillor John Filion. He believes that enforcement should be turned over to the Toronto Police Service’s Blue Hornets (the ones that write millions of parking tickets every year) and that there should be agressive or strong enforcement of this amended bylaw to make it work.

Let’s see what happens next week and if any other “exceptions” to this amended Idling law are removed.

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  1. Hi James: given the current composition on City Council, Mayor David Miller’s Green Machine has a majority of the votes. These councillors with Miller are keen if it’s green and the greener, the keener. I believe that even if it doesn’t make sense, but it sounds like it benefits the environment, then they will vote “yes” and reduce the idling time to 60 seconds, eliminate a number of exemptions and even increase the fine from $125.00 to $200.00 or more. The only reason that this vote may be slightly different, is due to the fall election. But even under these circumstances, I believe that city council will pass this amendment to the By-laws of Toronto.

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