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By-law Enforcement Practices

Defining By-law Enforcement Practices

Trends in the judicial system have been imposing an increasing duty of care upon municipalities when it comes to the administration and enforcement of regulatory by-laws.

In addition to providing a frame of reference for responding to by-law enforcement issues raised by the public, the following information may help define the levels of service, as well as the enforcement practices of the municipality, and in the process clarify by-law enforcement matters.

Staff Complement

There are three by-law enforcement staff. This provides for “In Field By-law Enforcement” and “In Office Customer Service”.

Most by-laws are administered using a progressive enforcement practice. The objective of progressive enforcement is to achieve compliance without laying a charge.

Progressive enforcement typically starts with giving fair notice of the problem and a reasonable opportunity for corrective action to be taken. If there is no compliance at this point, another warning is given. If this does not produce results then legal action is commenced and the matter is placed before the courts.

Resident attention is drawn to the following reminder:

By-law Enforcement staff do not have the authority to:

  • Stop moving vehicles, which include snowmobiles and trail bikes.
  • Enter into a dwelling that is occupied unless a search warrant is obtained.
  • Prosecute illegal garbage dumping complaints unless the act is witnessed.

The Town of East Gwillimbury by-laws are administered on a written complaint basis, unless it is a safety issue. Receiving complaints in writing alleviates neighbour disputes, and allows by-law staff to have reliable witnesses in a matter that proceeds to court. Also, placement of signs without permits and illegal parking issues are enforced under standard operating procedures.