May’s By-law of the Month

graffiti on public property

The Anti-Graffiti By-law


By-laws are put in place to ensure a safe and orderly community for all who live, work and play in Vaughan. Each month, the City of Vaughan explores a different by-law and what it means for you. This month, let’s take a look at the Anti-Graffiti By-law (PDF).


The Anti-Graffiti By-law prohibits graffiti on public and private property. Graffiti is a marking spray painted or handwritten on building walls or structures without consent of the property owner.


Here are the rules on graffiti:

  • You must not allow, cause or permit graffiti to be placed on any property. 
  • You must maintain any property you own (including walls and fences) and ensure it is free of graffiti.


If you are found in violation of the by-law, a Notice to Comply will be issued. If you are convicted of an offence, you could be fined up to $20,000 and up to $50,000 for subsequent offences. If a corporation is convicted, it may be fined up to $50,000 and up to $100,000 for subsequent offences.


Graffiti has negative impacts on our community, including:

  • costing taxpayers dollars to paint or repair any damage.
  • leading to additional graffiti or vandalism in the area.
  • affecting the environment with the harmful chemicals released.
  • offending or hurting others when it is obscene, racist or derogatory towards a person or a community. Graffiti of this nature is considered a hate crime and should be reported to York Regional Police’s non-emergency line at 1-866-876-5423.


How to prevent graffiti

There are steps you can take to help prevent graffiti from happening on your property.


Clean and maintain your property.

  • Install lighting on your property. Use a motion detector and install it high enough that it is out of reach – graffiti vandals prefer working in the darkness.
  • Landscape your property. Plant shrubs, ivy or vines in front of blank walls – this discourages vandalism.
  • Keep your property litter-free and encourage your neighbours to do the same – a littered environment may invite graffiti.


Remove any existing graffiti on your property to help prevent more acts of vandalism.

  • Add a can of spray remover to your supplies. Having it on hand ensures prompt graffiti removal.
  • Keep a record of the paint colour of your exterior walls so you can easily purchase more paint if required to cover graffiti.


How to report graffiti

If you come across graffiti on City property, you can report it online or call Service Vaughan at 905-832-2281. For graffiti or vandalism on hydro boxes, you can contact Alectra Inc. For graffiti or vandalism on mailboxes, you can contact Canada Post.


Learn more about the Anti-Graffiti By-law at