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BYLAW ENFORCEMENT:

BEST PRACTICES GUIDE FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS

Special Report No. 36  |  MARCH 2016 to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia

BYLAW ENFORCEMENT:

BEST PRACTICES GUIDE FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS

Special Report No. 36  |  MARCH 2016 to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia

Contributors Manager of Systemic Investigations Zoë Jackson Investigators Adam Barnes Aurora Beraldin

Other Contributors Michael Bendle Shawn Gabel Yuliya Khraplyva Roisin Lyder Coralynn Mailey Erin Placatka

Thank You A number of individuals outside our office made valuable contributions to this guide. We would like to thank staff in the regional districts, cities, towns and villages across British Columbia who shared their experiences with bylaw enforcement; the Local Government Management Association, License Inspectors and Bylaw Officers Association, and the Justice Institute of British Columbia, who shared useful information and perspectives with our investigators; staff at the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development who provided feedback on a draft version of this guide; and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities which provided us an opportunity to share our work on this guide at its annual convention in September 2015. We would also like to thank West Coast Editorial Associates for their invaluable copyediting and proofreading assistance.

ISBN 978-0-7726-6939-1

TABLE OF CONTENTS

TABLE OF CONTENTS

From the Ombudsperson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Who This Guide Is For. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 How We Developed This Guide. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 The Diversity of Local Governments and Their Approach to Bylaw Enforcement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Bylaws Evolve as Values and Standards Change. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Bylaw Enforcement Practices Vary Widely . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 The Importance of Fairness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Administrative Fairness in a Local Government Context. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Why Administrative Fairness Is Important. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 The Role of Council . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Developing Bylaws . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Can a Bylaw Be Enforced? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Do Staff Know How to Enforce a Bylaw? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Enforcement Capacity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Guidelines for Exercising Discretion: Developing a Bylaw Enforcement Policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Why Develop a Bylaw Enforcement Policy?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Content of a Bylaw Enforcement Policy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Applying a Bylaw Enforcement Policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Standards of Conduct . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 The Role of Council in the Enforcement Process. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .