Sign Permits

All exterior signs need a Development Permit. The Land Use Bylaw regulates the number, size, type, appearance and location of signs for both public and private property.

If a proposed sign is freestanding, a Building Permit is needed to meet safety requirements, after the Development Permit is approved.

You must have a permit prior to the installation of signs, or risk fines and penalties.

How to Apply

Permanent Sign

Apply Online

In Person

  1. Download the checklists and application forms below and complete them.
  2. Have two copies of your drawings ready. If you are unable to provide the drawings as required, you should engage the services of a sign company or architect.
  3. Prepare all required documents outlined in the Commercial Sign Checklist.

Bring all required documents to Planning & Development Services at City Hall.

Temporary Sign

Apply Online

In Person

  1. Download the checklists and application forms below and complete them.
  2. Have two copies of your drawings ready. If you are unable to provide the drawings as required, you should engage the services of a sign company or architect.
  3. Prepare all required documents outlined in the Commercial Sign Checklist.
  4. Bring all required documents to Planning & Development Services at City Hall.

Types of signs

  • Canopy Sign means a sign which either forms a part of, or is attached to, a retractable or permanently affixed canopy structure.
  • Electronic Display means sign copy displayed utilizing electronic screens, televisions, computer video monitors, liquid crystal displays, light-emitting diode displays, or any other similar electronic technology.
  • Façade means the exterior wall of a Building facing a road but does not include any side of a Building facing an interior side Property Line, a rear Property Line or an Alley.
  • Fascia Sign means a sign attached to or painted onto a Façade, the face of which is parallel to the wall to which it is attached, but does not include a mural.
  • Freestanding Sign means a sign which is supported independently by columns, structures or other supports that are placed or anchored in the ground and do not require support from a Building or other structure.
  • Portable Sign means a sign mounted on a frame, trailer, stand or similar structure that is easily transported, but does not include a Sandwich Board or a temporary sign.
  • Projecting Sign means a sign attached to a Façade which projects either perpendicularly or at an angle from the Façade.
  • Real Estate Sign means any sign displayed by or at the direction of a licensed realtor, or by the owner or occupant of a Site, for the purpose of announcing that a Site is for sale or lease or is the location of a garage sale or yard sale.
  • Sandwich Board means an "A" shaped form of sign sometimes referred to as an "A-frame" which is set on but not attached to the ground and has no external supporting structure, no illumination, and no electronic display.
  • Specialized Sign means a sign that does not fall within any other definition within the Land Use Bylaw.
  • Window Sign means a sign that is located within a Building and is intended for viewing from the exterior.

Signs which are not allowed

Signs which are not allowed in the City of Medicine Hat include signs that:

  • Create a hazard to public safety or health, or obstruct a window or door.
  • Obstruct the line of sight of pedestrians or motorists.
  • Are attached to a tree, stone, cliff or other natural object.
  • Are non-government signs which are attached to a street light, roadway sign, traffic signal, or placed on a public roadway or sidewalk, or any other City infrastructure.
  • Are placed within a residential district for the purpose of advertising a commercial or home-based business, and are viewable from outside a dwelling.
  • Contain words or phrases which may mislead pedestrians or motorists such as "STOP", "DANGER", "YIELD" etc.
  • Contain references to eroticism or is otherwise inappropriate for viewing by children.
  • Have a searchlight or strobe light.

Other sign restrictions also apply, including sizes, heights, separation distances, electronic displays, land use districts, etc. The Planning/Development Officer will review your application for all considerations when you apply for your permit.

Signs that do not require a permit

The signs listed below do not require a Development Permit, provided that they comply with other requirements in the Land Use Bylaw.

  • Address sign: A sign not exceeding 0.50 m2 in area which identifies the name or address of the occupant of a dwelling, such as "the Smiths".
  • No parking / no trespassing sign: A sign not exceeding 0.50 m2 in area which advises of restrictions on the use of a building or site, such as a "no parking" or "no trespassing" sign.
  • Real estate sign: Sign must not exceed 1.00 m2 in area in residential districts, and must not exceed 3.00 m2 in area in other districts.
  • Parking / directional sign: A sign not exceeding 0.65 m2 in area which indicates the direction or function of various parts of a building or site, such as parking and traffic areas.
  • Window sign (see Types of signs, above): Sign must not exceed 40% of the area of the window, and must not exceed 5.00 m2 in area regardless of the size of the window. Only allowed in non-residential districts.
  • Construction sign: A sign not exceeding 9.00 m2 in area for the purpose of advising the public of future or ongoing development, construction, or subdivision of a building or site.
  • Government sign: A sign erected by or at the direction of a government, including giving information to the public or identifying public buildings.
  • Non-profit sign: A flag, insignia, notice of advertising of a charitable, religious or fraternal organization. It must not exceed 0.50 m2 in area in a residential district, and must not exceed 3.00 m2 in other districts.
  • Memorial / historical sign: A memorial or historical sign, plaque or tablet.
  • Election sign: A sign displayed during the period of an election, referendum or plebiscite, including a period of not more than two weeks following the event. The sign must be directly related to the event.