Bylaw Enforcement, Offences and Liability - Municipal Government Act

Bylaw Enforcement Officers

A municipality may appoint bylaw enforcement officers and an officer who works in that role for one municipality may also be employed in the same capacity for another municipality. Bylaw enforcement officers are appointed by the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and will report to the CAO of the municipality for whom they work.

A municipal council will be required to establish a bylaw that relates to the education and experience qualifications required for a person to be employed as a bylaw enforcement officer. The bylaw must describe the complaint and discipline process with respect to complaints regarding inappropriate conduct made against a bylaw enforcement officer.

Time Period for Prosecutions and Civil Actions

The time period for commencing a prosecution for an offence contravening a bylaw must be within six months following the date of the alleged contravention of the bylaw or the Act. Most other actions against the municipality must be commenced within 12 months after the cause of the action first arose.

Enforcement Bylaws

Municipal councils will be able to make bylaws that authorize a municipal offence ticket be issued for a wider range of offences. These tickets can be issued for the contravention of a bylaw if the bylaw relates to the following:

  • Animal control
  • Dangerous or unsightly premises
  • Noise or public nuisance control
  • The parking of vehicles
  • Planning and development control under the Planning Act
  • Smoking in or on municipal property
  • Signage
  • Pesticide control
  • Any other matter specified in the regulations

Penalties and Fines

Unless a bylaw provides for a different penalty, a person who contravenes a bylaw is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of not less than $200 and not more than $10,000. Additional fines are permitted for each day or part of a day on which the offence continues after the first day. A person may also be imprisoned for up to one year or may be both fined and imprisoned. 

Every fine imposed by a municipality with respect to enforcement of its bylaws will be an amount owing to the municipality, except as otherwise provided in an agreement with the Province.

Notice of Inspection

If the Act or a bylaw established by a municipal council authorizes or requires an enforcement officer or an employee of the municipality to inspect, remedy, enforce or do anything that is required to be done, the enforcement officer or municipal employee may take action after giving the owner or occupier 24 hours’ notice of his or her intent to inspect.

 An enforcement officer or employee of a municipality may enter onto land or into buildings at any reasonable time and carry out an inspection, enforcement or action authorized under the Act with notice and, in the case of a building, a warrant. The enforcement officer may also require that anything be produced and copied.

Municipal Liability

Under the new Act, municipal liability is clarified and described in more detail. A municipality that has authority and discretion to do something will not be liable for doing it or for deciding not to do it as long as the action or inaction is done or not done in good faith. Furthermore, council members, council committee members and municipal volunteers will not be liable for damages resulting from any loss or damage as long as they are acting in good faith while performing their duties and exercising their authority under the Act. Except in instances where the municipality fails to carry out a duty or acts with gross negligence, a municipality will not be liable for loss or injury resulting from the following:

  • Failure to enforce a bylaw unless it is resulting from a failure to carry out a duty that is imposed by the bylaw
  • Damage caused by system frequency, infrequency or absence of inspections except where a bylaw imposes a duty to perform the inspection and the inspection is not performed in accordance with that duty
  • Nuisance actions
  • Loss or damage sustained in respect to a highway, sidewalk or trail unless the highway, sidewalk or trail is under the jurisdiction of the municipality
  • Lack of municipal control
  • Reasonable systems of inspection and maintenance
  • Loss or damage in respect of a municipal highway, sidewalk or trail caused by installing or failing to install a wall, fence, guardrail, railing, curb, pavement marking, traffic control device, illumination device or barrier
  • Injury to a person or damage to property caused by snow, ice, slush, or water of any form or kind on or adjacent to a highway, sidewalk or trail unless the municipality is grossly negligent
  • Loss or damage to a person or property in respect of the provision of protective services unless the municipality is grossly negligent.

Existing Legislation: What’s in Place Currently

A municipality may appoint bylaw enforcement officers and may share officers between municipalities.

A bylaw enforcement officer may issue a municipal ticket if there are reasonable grounds for doing so.

Enforcement bylaws may authorize the issuing of an offence ticket only if the bylaw relates to animal control, dangerous or unsightly premises, the parking of vehicles or noise or public nuisance control.

Council members, council committees, the administrator and any other individuals acting on their instructions or under the authority of the Acts, are not personally liable for any loss or damage suffered by any person by reason of anything that is done or not done in good faith.

Note: This document has been prepared by the Municipal Affairs Section of the Department of Communities, Land and Environment for general information purposes. This document should not be relied upon as a substitute for specialized legal or professional advice. 
Published date: 
January 6, 2017
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General Inquiries

Department of Communities, Land and Environment
4th Floor, Jones Building
11 Kent Street
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: (902) 368-5044
Toll-free: 1-866-368-5044
Fax: (902) 368-5830