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Permits (Building & Sign)

As a business, within the City of Thunder Bay, you may require permits for any construction or activities that are a function of your proposed business or operations. Depending on your proposal or activity, you may be required to obtain a building permit, a demolition permit, or a sign permit. 

Please consider, permits are not the same as business licences. Requirements for business licenses can be found on our Business Licences page.

General information regarding building and demolition permits and sign permits is provided below.  


Building permits are (typically) required for;
  • building construction*, additions, and renovations,
  • designated structures (e.g. retaining walls, wind turbines, public pools, exterior storage tanks),
  • demolition of existing buildings or designated structures,
  • erection and use of seasonal structures (tents exceeding 60m2, greenhouses),
  • a change of use from one building classification/use to another (whether or not work is proposed), and  
  • Signs (except incidental signs or signs subject to municipal approval).

(Note* - "construction" includes pre-fabricated modular buildings, relocated buildings, self-service storage buildings, public pools, permanent greenhouses, fabric covered structures, air supported structures, and shipping containers used as buildings).   

For information and clarification regarding building permit requirements and fees, please contact our Building Services Division at (807) 625-2574 or (807) 625-2575.

Permits must be obtained before the start of any work. Application forms and brochures are available from the Building Services Division.

Download Permit Forms available from the Building Services Division   


Whether a building permit is required or not, a sign permit is required for the construction or installation of an exterior advertising sign. A "sign" (as defined) includes an advertising device or notice and means any visual medium, including its structure and other component parts, which is used or capable of being used to attract attention to a specific subject matter, other than itself, for identification, information or advertising purposes.

The requirement to obtain a sign permit applies to;

  • a ground sign,
  • a roof or wall mounted sign (e.g. roof, projecting, marquee),   
  • a sign applied to an exterior window or door, or
  • a mobile billboard sign or mobile sign.

Please consider, a sign structure shall be designed by an architect or professional engineer (Ontario License) where it is,

  • a ground sign that exceeds 7.5 m (24'-7") in height above the adjacent finished ground,
  • a projecting sign that weights more than 115 kg (253 lbs), or
  • a roof sign that has any face that is more than 10 m2 (107.6 ft2 ).

For information or clarification regarding sign permit requirements and fees, please contact our Licensing and Enforcement Division at (807) 625-2710.

City of Thunder Bay
Building Services Division / Licensing & Enforcement

Address: Victoriaville Civic Centre
111 Syndicate Ave S 
Thunder Bay ON P7E 6S4
Tel: (807) 625-2574 (Building)
(807) 625-2575 (Building)
(807) 625-2710 (Licensing And Enforcement)


For more information and contacts, view the City of Thunder Bay's Find a City Service.

BizPaL can help you verify that you have all the correct permits and licences.