Municipal Sample Bylaws
What is a bylaw?
Bylaws are laws made by a municipality in accordance with municipal legislation. Municipal councils pass bylaws that govern municipal operations and service delivery. Bylaws are binding and can be enforced with penalties or 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 and that take place on separate days. The bylaw must be approved by a majority of the council and at the end of the process, formally adopted by a resolution of council.
Refer to the Municipal Bylaw Processes Guidebook to learn more about creating and amending bylaws.
How are the sample bylaws to be used?
The sample bylaws provided on this page are intended to be used as a guide by municipalities to develop their bylaws. The content and format of the sample bylaws may be 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.
What bylaws must municipalities have?
Under the Municipal Government Act, certain bylaws are required by all municipalities.
All municipalities are required to adopt the following bylaws:
- Campaign Contributions, Spending Limits and Disclosure Bylaw (including electoral wards if desired) (view a Sample Election Bylaw and Sample Election Bylaw Simplified Version) Note: the bylaw if applicable should include wards, mail-in ballots, alternative voting (internet, machines etc.), enumeration of electors, nomination deposit, plebiscite voting and mobile polling stations.
- Access to Information and Protection of Personal Information Bylaw (view a sample Access to Information and Protection of Personal Information Bylaw)
- Conflict of Interest Bylaw (view a sample Conflict of Interest Bylaw)
- New Code of Conduct Bylaw for Council (view a sample template Council Code of Conduct Bylaw) Updated to reflect 2023 Code of Conduct Regulations
- Records Retention and Disposition Bylaw (revised view a sample Records Retention Bylaw)
- Procedural Bylaw (revised - view a sample Procedural Bylaw
- Procurement Bylaw (date required will be set out in regulation)
- Emergency Management Bylaw (by 2021) (revised - view a sample Emergency Management Bylaw)
What are some other bylaw examples?
In addition to the mandatory bylaws presented above, municipalities adopt service specific bylaws as needed. Here are some common examples:
- authorize the borrowing of funds (view a sample Borrowing Bylaw).
- have tax rate groups, including commercial and non-commercial (view a sample Tax Rate Group Bylaw)
- 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 (sample grants bylaw)
- establish a municipal Controlled Corporation Utility to provide water or sewer services (view a sample Utility Bylaw)
- 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 inter-municipal Bylaw)
- regulate cosmetic pesticide use
- regulate Municipal Fire Departments (view a sample Fire Services Bylaw)
- repeal a single bylaw (view a sample repeal bylaw)
- repeal multiple bylaws (view a sample repeal bylaw)
- amend a bylaw (view a sample amendment bylaw)
Does the Province review all municipal bylaws?
All bylaws, other than municipal land use planning bylaws, must 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.
The Minister responsible for municipalities must approve bylaws related to municipal land use planning.
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.