What is a Bylaw Notice?
A Bylaw Notice is essentially a ticket, similar to a parking ticket, for a contravention of a local government bylaw. It can be served by delivery to a person directly, by regular mail or, in the case of a parking infraction, on the vehicle itself.
Are Bylaw Notices issued for all types of contraventions?
No, they may only be issued in respect of the bylaws cited in Schedule “A” of Bylaw No. 1447-2016. Generally, the goal of bylaw enforcement is to achieve compliance with the regulations of the Regional District. Bylaw Notices are just one of several different enforcement tools that the SLRD may use, ranging from warnings to court injunctions.
If I receive a Bylaw Notice and pay it, do I still have to comply with the bylaw?
Yes. Payment of a Bylaw Notice does not grant a person a permit to continue violating a bylaw. Multiple Bylaw Notices could be issued as each day that a bylaw is being contravened is, legally, a separate contravention subject to a separate penalty.
If I disagree with a Bylaw Notice, how do I dispute it?
The back of the Bylaw Notice form contains a section entitled Notice of Dispute & Request for Adjudication. You must fill out this section and submit it to the SLRD in person or by mail within 21 days from the date you received it or are presumed to have received it (e.g. if mailed to you, you are presumed to have received it on the 7th day after the date of mailing). Subject to the provisions of the Act, if you do not meet the deadline, you cannot dispute the Bylaw Notice.
What does a Screening Officer do?
A Screening Officer reviews the Bylaw Notice with you, answers any questions you may have, and explains your options. The Screening Officer may cancel the Bylaw Notice, enter into a Compliance Agreement with you, or affirm the ticket. If affirmed, you may pay the penalty at this stage, or confirm your request for adjudication and pay the $25 adjudication administration fee, which is returned or forfeited depending on whether you are successful or not at the adjudication.
What is a Compliance Agreement?
A Compliance Agreement is a contract between the SLRD and a person in contravention of an SLRD bylaw regarding how bylaw compliance is to be achieved. Terms and conditions are set out in the Agreement and the person is entitled to a reduced penalty amount. Column A4 of Schedule “A” of Bylaw No. 1447-2016 lists all the bylaw contraventions for which a Compliance Agreement is available and Column A5 lists the applicable discount. If a person breaches a Compliance Agreement, it may be rescinded and the original penalty amount and any surcharges will be due and owing.
What happens if a Bylaw Notice proceeds to adjudication?
If a Bylaw Notice (or the question of whether a Compliance Agreement was breached) proceeds to adjudication, an independent adjudicator will determine the matter based on the alleged bylaw contravention (or Compliance Agreement breach) and the evidence of the parties. Evidence can be presented orally, in writing or electronically and the adjudicator may accept any evidence he or she considers to be credible, trustworthy and relevant. The standard of proof is on a balance of probabilities.
It is important to keep in mind that the adjudicator will only determine whether:
- the contravention alleged in a Bylaw Notice occurred as alleged; or
- the terms and conditions of a compliance Agreement were observed or performed.
The adjudicator cannot consider challenges to the bylaw itself, constitutional issues or claims to rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, or to aboriginal or treaty rights. Such challenges must go to the Supreme Court of BC.
A person may choose to submit their dispute in person (or through an authorized agent), over the phone, or in writing. Adjudications must be open to the public, unless they are based solely on written materials, in which case the written materials must be made available to the public by the local government in any reasonable manner.
What happens if I don't pay the penalty?
If you don’t pay the penalty promptly when you receive the ticket, you will lose the discount after 21 days and will owe a surcharge after 35 days. Disputing a Bylaw Notice does not “stop the clock.” If you lose an adjudication, the penalty and any surcharges are due and payable. If you still don’t pay, the debt will be sent to a collection agency and may be registered as a judgement in Provincial Court.