Reporting Construction Impacts

There are many government regulations and by-laws already in place that can help you seek a resolution to a construction-related impact such as air pollution. Here are some common complaint questions and answers to help you out.

This information has been compiled by TEA thanks to the financial support of The Ontario Trillium Foundation.

How do I report a vibration or mess within a construction site?

The City's Toronto Building department has a Complaint Policy, which commits to investigate and respond to all registered ‘non-emergency’ complaints within 30 days. The City has a dedicated Enforcement Unit to respond to problematic residential infill sites and coordinate with other City Divisions. There is also an appeal process if the complainant does not agree with the outcome, which involves the Chief Building Official.

‘Non-emergency concerns’ that may be considered a nuisance include:

  • Messy construction sites
  • Concern about vibration resulting from construction

Contact one of the City of Toronto’s Toronto Building District Inspection Offices:

Toronto and East York District: 416-338-0700

North York District: 416-395-7541

Etobicoke York District: 416-394-8055

Scarborough District: 416-396-7322

Be prepared to provide the following information to the local Toronto Building inspector:

  • Address of the property
  • Details of your concern

You can also visit the City's Toronto Building complaint webpage for more information.

How do I report air pollution from construction vehicles or machinery?

Visible emissions or smoke from vehicles

Heavy duty diesel vehicles must be emission tested annually through the Ontario Government’s Drive Clean Program. Emissions are tested by measuring the density or opacity of the smoke coming from the exhaust, which should be 20% opacity or less. If you see a “smoking vehicle” with black, grey or blue smoke, you can report it to Drive Clean through their online form or by calling their contact centre.

Contact Ontario’s Drive Clean Program:

  • Completing the online form
  • Call the contact centre at 1-888-758-2999

Be prepared to provide the following information:

  • the licence plate
  • a vehicle description
  • the location, date and time of the occurrence
  • the colour of the smoke

Idling vehicles & machinery

If vehicles or other machines have been idling for over 1 minute per hour, this contravenes the Idling Control By-law and it can be reported to the City of Toronto’s Permit Parking office. This applies to construction vehicles and machinery like 'heavy duty' diesel vehicles like dump trucks as well as ‘road-building machines’ like excavators, cranes, bulldozers, compactors, and street sweepers.

You can make a complaint by contacting the City's Permit Parking Office, but this complaint should be issued in real-time while the idling is still taking place. Enforcement officers can only give warnings or fines if the idling vehicle's driver is caught in the act.

Contact the City of Toronto’s Permit Parking Office:
Permit Parking, City Hall
100 Queen St. W., Main Floor, West Tower
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
416-392-7873
pparking@toronto.ca

Be prepared to provide the following information:

  • the licence plate
  • a vehicle description
  • the location, date and duration of the occurrence

Learn more about the Idling Control By-law.

 

How do I report air pollution or dust from a construction site?

Non-Emergency Air Pollution Concerns

The City's Toronto Building department provides demolition and construction permits to property owners. The new Dust Control by-law and dedicated Enforcement Unit can respond to problematic residential infill sites and have the power to stop work at the construction site and revoke their construction permit if dust is travelling off-site and impacting public or private properties.

The Dust Control by-law does not apply to municipal works projects, work occurring on commercial or industrial properties, and to large-scale construction projects like multi-residential buildings, subdivisions or mixed-use developments.

Toronto Building has a Complaint Policy, which commits to investigate and respond to all registered ‘non-emergency’ complaints within 30 days. ‘Non-emergency concerns’ may include certain air pollution issues such as:

  • Hazardous materials coming from a demolished building
  • Dust or air quality complaint on a construction project

Contact one of the City of Toronto’s Toronto Building District Inspection Offices:

Toronto and East York District: 416-338-0700

North York District: 416-395-7541

Etobicoke York District: 416-394-8055

Scarborough District: 416-396-7322

Be prepared to provide the following information to the local Toronto Building inspector:

  • Address of the property
  • Details of your concern

You can also visit the City's Toronto Building complaint webpage for more information.

 

Immediate Air Pollution Concerns

The Ontario Government has a duty to protect worker health, public health and the environment from harm. Depending on the nature of the immediate concern, there are different resources you can contact. If you believe there is an immediate risk to someone's life, call 9-1-1.

Air pollution or spill on the construction site

Contact the Ontario Ministry of Labour to report a potential construction site violation of worker health & safety and/or the lack of safe construction practices. Examples include unsafe work practices, construction methods and equipment; lack of protective breathing equipment used during dusty or polluting activities. There are occupational exposure limits for a number of air pollutants created on construction sites including silica dust, wood dust, asbestos which can be safely managed through a combination of control measures and personal safety equipment.

Contact Ontario's Health and Safety Contact Centre:

Toll-free: 1-877-202-0008
TTY: 1-855-653-9260

More information at https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/topics/construction.php

Air pollution or spill off-site

Contact the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks' Spills Action Centre 24 hours a day to report a release of any kind (to air, water or land) that could be impacting the natural environment, public space or your own property.

Contact the Spills Action Centre:

Toll-free: 1-866-MOETIPS (663-8477)

Be prepared to provide the following information to an Environmental Officer:

  • date and time of the incident
  • source and/or location of the incident
  • current status of the incident
  • type of pollutant involved (if known)
  • what impact the pollutant is having on the environment
  • weather conditions

More information at https://www.ontario.ca/page/report-pollution-and-spills