Local Government Bylaws

Municipal councils and regional district boards may only make decisions by bylaw or resolution. Bylaws are laws that formalize rules made by a council or board. Local governments may use bylaws for various purposes, especially to regulate, prohibit or impose requirements.

Bylaws are laws passed by municipal councils and regional district boards to exercise their statutory authority. Bylaws may be used for a variety of different purposes, including establishing meeting procedures, regulating services, prohibiting an activity, or requiring certain actions.

Local governments may also exercise some statutory authority through resolution, which is a formal record of decision by a council or board. In some cases, provincial legislation requires that a local government power be exercised by bylaw only--in other circumstances local governments have the choice to either pass a bylaw or a resolution.

Bylaw Adoption Process

There are legislatively required steps before a local government bylaw takes legal effect. These steps include three readings, adoption, and in some cases, provincial or other approval. There may also be additional requirements established in the local government's procedure bylaw or in legislation that must be met before a bylaw is adopted by a council or board, depending on the nature of the bylaw.

Provincial Approval

Certain types of bylaws require approval by the minister of Municipal Affairs, as the minister responsible for the Community Charter and the Local Government Act, or by the Inspector of Municipalities. Bylaws under the Community Charter concurrent authority may require approval or some other form of involvement from other provincial ministries. Other Acts may also require some form of B.C government involvement before bylaws may be adopted.

Bylaw Enforcement

Bylaw enforcement generally refers to actions directed at ensuring compliance with local government bylaws.