Municipal Sample Bylaws
Municipalities are required by the Municipal Government Act to have a number of bylaws in place by certain points in time.
What is a bylaw?
Bylaws are laws made by a municipality in accordance with municipal legislation. Municipal councils can pass bylaws that govern processes within their council and bylaws that govern activities and processes within the municipality. Bylaws are binding and can be enforced with penalties. Bylaws can be enforced through the public justice system.
How is a bylaw passed by council?
Proper procedures for passing a bylaw must be followed to make sure the process is transparent and to give the bylaw legal effect.
Bylaws must be read at two council meetings that are open to the public that take place on separate days. The bylaw must be approved by a majority of the council and at the end of the process is formally adopted by a resolution of council.
Refer to the Municipal Bylaw Processes Guidebook to learn more about creating and amending bylaws.
Where do I learn more about a municipality’s bylaw?
Contact the municipality or visit their website to see the bylaws a municipality has passed. View the Municipal Directory for municipal contact information.
What bylaws must municipalities have?
Under the Municipal Government Act, certain bylaws are required by all municipalities. Other bylaws are only required if the municipality decides to provide the service or regulate an activity. The timeline to pass each bylaw depends on the type of bylaw.
Which bylaws must be in place when the MGA comes into effect?
The MGA does not require any bylaws to automatically be in place at proclamation, except in situations where a municipality has chosen to:
- borrow funds (view a sample Borrowing Bylaw).
- have tax rate groups, including commercial and non-commercial (view a sample Tax Rate Group Bylaw) (required in time to set the 2018 property tax rates)
- create a reserve fund (view a sample Reserve Fund Bylaw ) (view a sample Reserve Fund Policy)
- establish or charge fees for services (view a sample Fees Bylaw)
- provide any compensation, honorarium or remuneration to council members (view a sample Remuneration Bylaw)
- provide grants (view a sample Grants Bylaw) (view a sample Grants Policy)
- establish a public utility to provide water or sewer services (sample bylaw for Controlled Corporation Public Utility and Municipal Department Public Utility being developed)
- do bylaw enforcement (sample Bylaw Enforcement Bylaw being developed)
- change the number of councillors (view a sample Council Size Bylaw)
- establish a tourism accommodation levy (sample bylaw being developed)
- provide animal control
- deal with matters of noise, nuisance and property maintenance
- share services with another municipality (view a sample Shared Services Bylaw)
- regulate cosmetic pesticide use
Which bylaws must be in place at a later date?
All municipalities will be required to pass the following bylaws:
- Election Bylaw (including electoral wards if desired) (view a Sample Election Bylaw and Sample Election Bylaw Simplified Version) (Sep. 5, 2018)
- Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bylaw (view a sample Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bylaws) (within 24 months of the Act coming into effect)
- Conflict of Interest Bylaw (view a sample Conflict of Interest Bylaw) (within 18 months of the Act coming into effect)
- Code of Conduct Bylaw for Council (revised - view a sample Council Code of Conduct Bylaw) (within 18 months of the Act coming into effect)
- Records Retention and Disposition Bylaw (view a sample Records Retention Bylaw) (within 24 months of the Act coming into effect)
- Procedural Bylaw (revised - view a sample Procedural Bylaw) (within 18 months of the Act coming into effect)
- Procurement Bylaw (date required will be set out in regulation)
- Emergency Management Bylaw (by 2021) (revised - view a sample Emergency Management Bylaw)
- Bylaws related to land use planning (by 2023)
Are there other municipal bylaws?
A municipality can chose to create a bylaw and provide services for a number of reasons, such as providing libraries or undertaking regional development. Even if the bylaw is not required under the Act, it is often best practice to establish a bylaw.
- Municipal Fire Department Bylaw (view a sample Fire Services Bylaw)
Does the Province review all municipal bylaws?
The Minister responsible for municipalities must approve bylaws related to municipal land use planning. All other bylaws must simply be filed with the Minister (File a Municipal Bylaw). It is the responsibility of the municipality to ensure that:
- the subject area of the bylaw is within their jurisdiction,
- the required process for passing the bylaw has been followed,
- a municipal registry of bylaws is kept at the municipal office, and
- that bylaws are readily available to the public.
How are the sample bylaws to be used?
The sample bylaws are intended to be used as a guide by municipalities to develop their bylaws. The content and format of the samples will need to be modified to suit the needs of the municipality but must remain consistent with the Municipal Government Act. The sample bylaw should not be relied upon as a substitute for specialized legal or professional advice.