Regional District Regulatory Powers

Regional districts have the power to regulate, prohibit or impose requirements on certain activities that affect people and property.

Regional districts have more limited regulatory authority than municipalities –- for example, unless specifically provided to them, they generally do not have the authority to undertake business regulation or regulate public places.

Approaches to exercising regulatory powers can be quite varied, and include limits on timing or setting conditions on how certain activities may occur. For example, a regional district might restrict access to a regional park between dusk and dawn and require the dog owner to keep their pet leashed during certain months.

Specific Regulatory Activities

Regional districts have authority to regulate those specific activities described in Provincial legislation. All local governments have powers to regulate in relation to land use activities (for example, zoning, alteration of heritage buildings, and development permits). Beyond land use, regional districts also have various powers to regulate things like animals, nuisances, and noise.

In relation to certain matters -- maintaining, promoting or preserving public health or maintaining sanitary conditions, and regulating soil deposit and removal -- regional districts may regulate subject to provincial involvement. Provincial involvement may take the form of a regulation, an agreement or case-by-case approval, depending on the subject area and circumstances.

Accompanying Authority & Limitations

Along with their regulatory powers, regional districts have authorities to make those rules effective -– for example, by creating a system of licences, permits or approvals in relation to a regional district service, by entering onto property to inspect whether rules and requirements are being met and by enforcing their regulatory bylaws through tickets and other means.

Because regulatory powers directly affect what people can or cannot do in a regional district, there are often requirements a regional district must meet before exercising its regulatory powers. For example, a regional district must have participating area approval of a service before regulations can be established and enforced for that particular service.

The Regulatory Best Practices Guide (PDF) helps local governments determine whether the exercise of regulatory authority is the best solution to a particular community issue, and if so, to assist in choosing the regulatory approach.