Item - 2013.GM24.14

Tracking Status

GM24.14 - Incorporating QR (Quick Response) Codes on City of Toronto Signage

Decision Type:

Committee Decision

The Government Management Committee received the item for information.


(August 26, 2013) Report from the Director, Strategic Communications


At its meeting on November 27, 28 and 29, 2012, City Council requested the City Manager, in consultation with appropriate staff and other relevant stakeholders, to report to the Government Management Committee on the feasibility of incorporating QR (Quick Response) codes on City of Toronto signage at parks, civic buildings and other public areas.


Given the evolving nature of the digital landscape and emergence of new technologies, the City must ensure it is leveraging new and existing channels to communicate and engage with an increasingly mobile audience. Over the past few years, the City has used QR codes as part of select programs and initiatives to communicate additional information to mobile users.


In consultation with relevant City divisions and program areas, this report outlines Strategic Communications’ intent to implement a one-year pilot in Spring 2014 to assess the value and usage of QR codes as a method of providing additional information and communication to a mobile audience, including residents, businesses and visitors. The pilot project will include applying QR codes on select existing City parks and public square signage, new planning application signs for proposed developments and at nine historic sites, and will be timed to coincide with the start of the busy summer season.


Critical to the success of this pilot will be coordinating its implementation with the upgrade of the City’s current website, which is not optimized for mobile devices. The Web Revitalization Project is a separate initiative currently underway, which, among other improvements, will make the City’s external website mobile-friendly by the end of 2013. Since QR codes are intended to point mobile users to web pages for more information, before considering expanding the use of QR codes, it is important to ensure the City’s website is mobile-friendly and promotes a positive online and user experience.


In an effort to minimize costs, the development of new signage is not being proposed. As part of the one-year pilot, QR code decals will be generated, produced and applied to select signage using existing staff resources and budgets as follows, and as outlined in the Comments section:


-     park signs at the City’s featured parks

-     appropriate public square signage (application of a QR code will be dependent on the physical location, design and material used for the sign)


-     new planning application signs for proposed developments (template to be provided by the City and produced by the applicants)


-     nine of the City’s historic sites


Unique URLs would be used to generate the QR codes to ensure the City is able to capture accurate and valuable information about the number of users visiting City web pages via the QR code.


As the City currently has limited data about the use and effectiveness of QR codes to communicate and engage with the public, a pilot would provide valuable, tangible data about QR code usage in Toronto. Equipped with this information, the City would be better positioned to consider the appropriateness of using QR codes, along with other social media and digital communications tools on City signage and communication materials, to enhance mobile experiences and access to City information.

Background Information

(August 26, 2013) Report from the Director, Strategic Communications, on Incorporating QR (Quick Response) Codes on City of Toronto Signage


1 - Motion to Adopt Item moved by Councillor Vincent Crisanti (Lost)

2 - Motion to Reconsider Item moved by Councillor Pam McConnell (Carried)

 That the Government Management Committee reconsider Item GM24.14

3 - Motion to Adopt Item moved by Councillor Pam McConnell (Carried)
Source: Toronto City Clerk at