Improvement Districts Bylaw Preparation

Improvement district bylaws may be enacted at a legally convened meeting of the board of trustees. Bylaws are usually prepared by the corporate officer on direction from the board.

Bylaw Drafting

The Local Government Act does not specify the form, content or order of information required in bylaws. However, there is a generally accepted format for bylaws that includes using a unique number and name to differentiate one bylaw from another.

The intent and wording of the bylaw must be clear and its provisions applied consistently. A poorly worded bylaw may be vulnerable to legal challenge.

An improvement district bylaw cannot be made retroactive - bylaws are effective upon their adoption or registration. For example, if the board of trustees intends to introduce a user fee increase on March 1, the bylaw must be adopted prior to that date.

Effective Incentives & Penalties

A landowner alleged to be in contravention of a bylaw must be given an opportunity to comply with its requirements. The landowner is sent a written notice of the violation by registered mail or hand delivered, citing the bylaw section being contravened and stating what the owner must do to comply within a stated time frame.

For property tax bylaws, interest on the original tax can be charged beginning on March 1 of the following year. If any amount remains unpaid 24 months after the initial deadline, the board of trustees can arrange to sell the property at a tax sale to recover the taxes and penalties, as well as the cost of the the tax sale itself.

Landowner Consultation & Approval

The Inspector of Municipalities may require an improvement district to provide evidence that its landowners support a bylaw before allowing the bylaw to be registered; for example, when a bylaw is expected to have a major impact on landowners, such as a substantial tax increase, or a fundamental change in how the improvement district delivers or regulates its services. Landowner support is essential for all long-term borrowing and for bylaws that materially increase rates charged to the landowners.

Indicators of landowners' support can range from informal consultation to holding a binding vote at a special general meeting. Before adopting significant or potentially controversial bylaws, improvement districts should contact Ministry Municipal Affairs and Housing to discuss potential requirements for consultation with or approval of landowners. Learn more about;