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They’re a staple in neighborhoods across Hamilton, Haldimand and Niagara leading up to every election season.

In fact, during the Canadian federal election of 2019, campaign managers wasted no time at all by posting signs the very morning they were legally allowed to.

So, what are the rules and are political lawn signs even effective at winning a candidate more votes?

Let’s discuss.

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You can learn more about political lawn sign rules on the Elections Canada website, but we will explain several of the most important rules in more depth for you here.


Municipalities in Ontario have varying by-laws outlining the rules of when a campaign yard sign is allowed to go up.

For example, the Niagara Falls sign by-law says that federal election signs can only go up the day the “Writ of Election” is dropped and municipal election lawn signs can start being placed up to 45 days before Election Day.

A different example is the City of Hamilton sign by-laws which are a little more restrictive by only allowing election signs to go up 28 days prior to a municipal election.

We recommend looking up your cities by-laws before ordering or displaying your lawn signs.

political lawn signs


There are no official content rules outlined by the Canada Elections Act.

However, jurisdictions across Canada will have rules in place that apply to the content of all publicly displayed advertising signs, like the part of the Ontario sign policy that states:

“To ensure that signs on public lands do not convey a message which promotes violence, hatred or contempt against any individual or identifiable group.”

We should also consider the court of public opinion.

If the purpose of a campaign yard sign is to win over more public support, we’ll want to make sure the message displayed is in good taste.

Other election sign rules to be aware of involving where they can be placed:

  • Political lawn signs cannot be placed in, on or around a building where voting takes place
  • Signs that are considered safety hazards may be removed. Learn more about where you can place your lawn signs
  • You can place election signs on private property, with permission of the land owner


Yes, there is proof showing the effectiveness of political yard signs.

Political scientist Mel Kahn says that they help significantly with name recognition by allowing a candidate’s name to become more recognized by 6-10 people.

A 2016 Columbia University study found that lawn signs increase vote shares by more than 1% on average.

Another sign study from Fordham University showed an increase of voter turnout when “Vote Tomorrow” signs were placed the day before an election.

While some may still question the usefulness of political lawn signs, it’s hard to dispute the fact that they’re impossible not to notice during election season.


First off, the answer to this is heavily dependent on whether it’s for a municipal, provincial or federal election since a regional campaign obviously won’t require as many as a campaign run on the national level.

One recommendation is to keep it simple by ordering 1 lawn sign per 30 registered voters, but another more detailed calculation you could try is the following:

Population X expected turnout (%) X vote goal (%) divided by name recognition per lawn sign (6-10).

Let’s use Haldimand to run some numbers.

  • Population: 50,000 (rounded up a bit from the official stats)
  • Voter turnout: 42% (a pretty typical number according to AMO)
  • Vote goal: 52%
  • Name recognition per sign: 6

50,000 (X) 0.42 (X) 0.52 / 6 = 1,820 lawn signs.

You can adjust the name recognition per sign up to as high as 10 to get things to fit into your budget. For example:

50,000 (X) 0.42 (X) 0.52 / 10 = 1,092 lawn signs.

This calculation should help give you a general idea of the number of lawn signs a campaign needs for an election, then you can scale up or down from there based on your goals and budget.

Need another type of lawn sign? Find out how many you'll need.

If you’re looking for a personalized quote for lawn signs, please send in a quick quote form and we will be happy to get you more details.

Sticker-it Signs and Graphics is a leader in print and promotional services throughout the Hamilton, Haldimand and Niagara regions of Ontario.

Contact us anytime to discuss your next project.