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Posted on: August 16, 2019

What is a bylaw?


What is a Bylaw?


The “by” in bylaw is an Old Norse word that means “town”.  A bylaw is simply a town, or local, law.

Bylaw & Act Information


Bylaws can’t be created out of thin air.  Canadian municipalities don’t have constitutional status of their own, so they can only pass laws authorized by other levels of government.  Statuses like the Municipalities Act and the Traffic Safety Act delegate authority for local bylaws.

Some bylaws are mandatory.  For example, every municipality in Saskatchewan must pass a Zoning Bylaw.  Some bylaws are required only if a municipality wants to carry out a certain type of activity.  A town doesn’t have to require business licensing, for example, but if they do, they need a bylaw.  Bylaws can also customize provincial statuses to allow for local enforcement or reduced fines in area like traffic safety.

Introduction of a Bylaw

Council creates and enforces bylaws to maintain the safety, health, welfare and protection of people and property in the community.


Every Bylaw is introduced for a first time, and at first reading there is no debate on the bylaw.  After first reading, bylaws that deal specifically with statutory documents such as the Official Community Plan or Zoning Bylaw under the Planning and Development Act, and bylaws that introduce changes to an existing bylaw that affect the public are then advertised for a period of two full weeks.

Second & Third Readings and Enactment


After the two week advertising period, Bylaws dealing with statutory documents require a Public Hearing so residents affected by the change can speak for or against the proposed bylaw change.  Following the Public Hearing, the bylaw is placed on the council agenda for second and third reading.

At this time, council can debate the bylaw or ask for clarification on proposed changes.  After third reading, the bylaw is passed and adopted, making it an enforceable document.

Enforcement of Bylaws


Bylaws that require enforcement are done so by either Council, Administration, Public Works, Recreation, Fire Department or the Bylaw Official.

Depending on the nature of the bylaw will depend on the enforcement.  For example the cemetery bylaw is enforced by the Recreation Director as well as the Superintendent of Public Works, the Fire Pit bylaw is enforced by the Fire Chief, and the Nuisance Abatement bylaw is enforced by the Bylaw Official.

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