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This Act is current to November 1, 2017
See the Tables of Legislative Changes for this Act’s legislative history, including any changes not in force.

Community Charter

[SBC 2003] CHAPTER 26

Part 2 — Municipal Purposes and Powers

Division 1 — Purposes and Fundamental Powers

Municipalities and their councils

6  (1) A municipality is a corporation of the residents of its area.

(2) The governing body of a municipality is its council.

(3) New municipalities may be established, and the boundaries of existing municipalities may be altered, in accordance with Part 2 [Incorporation of Municipalities and Regional Districts] of the Local Government Act.

Municipal purposes

7  The purposes of a municipality include

(a) providing for good government of its community,

(b) providing for services, laws and other matters for community benefit,

(c) providing for stewardship of the public assets of its community, and

(d) fostering the economic, social and environmental well-being of its community.

Fundamental powers

8  (1) A municipality has the capacity, rights, powers and privileges of a natural person of full capacity.

(2) A municipality may provide any service that the council considers necessary or desirable, and may do this directly or through another public authority or another person or organization.

(3) A council may, by bylaw, regulate, prohibit and impose requirements in relation to the following:

(a) municipal services;

(b) public places;

(c) trees;

(d) firecrackers, fireworks and explosives;

(e) bows and arrows, knives and other weapons not referred to in subsection (5);

(f) cemeteries, crematoriums, columbariums and mausoleums and the interment or other disposition of the dead;

(g) the health, safety or protection of persons or property in relation to matters referred to in section 63 [protection of persons and property];

(h) the protection and enhancement of the well-being of its community in relation to the matters referred to in section 64 [nuisances, disturbances and other objectionable situations];

(i) public health;

(j) protection of the natural environment;

(k) animals;

(l) buildings and other structures;

(m) the removal of soil and the deposit of soil or other material.

(4) A council may, by bylaw, regulate and impose requirements in relation to matters referred to in section 65 [signs and other advertising].

(5) A council may, by bylaw, regulate and prohibit in relation to the discharge of firearms.

(6) A council may, by bylaw, regulate in relation to business.

(7) The powers under subsections (3) to (6) to regulate, prohibit and impose requirements, as applicable, in relation to a matter

(a) are separate powers that may be exercised independently of one another,

(b) include the power to regulate, prohibit and impose requirements, as applicable, respecting persons, property, things and activities in relation to the matter, and

(c) may not be used to do anything that a council is specifically authorized to do under Part 14 [Planning and Land Use Management] or Part 15 [Heritage Conservation] of the Local Government Act.

(8) As examples, the powers to regulate, prohibit and impose requirements under this section include the following powers:

(a) to provide that persons may engage in a regulated activity only in accordance with the rules established by bylaw;

(b) to prohibit persons from doing things with their property;

(c) to require persons to do things with their property, to do things at their expense and to provide security for fulfilling a requirement.

(9) A municipality must make available to the public, on request, a statement respecting the council's reasons for adopting a bylaw under subsection (3), (4), (5) or (6).

(10) Powers provided to municipalities under this section

(a) are subject to any specific conditions and restrictions established under this or another Act, and

(b) must be exercised in accordance with this Act unless otherwise provided.

(11) For certainty,

(a) the authority under subsection (2) does not include the authority to regulate, prohibit or impose requirements, and

(b) for the purposes of subsection (3) (a), a service does not include an activity that is merely the exercise of authority to regulate, prohibit or impose requirements and related enforcement.

Spheres of concurrent authority

9  (1) This section applies in relation to the following:

(a) bylaws under section 8 (3) (i) [public health];

(b) bylaws under section 8 (3) (j) [protection of the natural environment];

(c) bylaws under section 8 (3) (k) [animals] in relation to wildlife;

(d) bylaws under section 8 (3) (l) [buildings and other structures] establishing standards that are or could be dealt with by the Provincial building regulations;

(e) bylaws under section 8 (3) (m) [removal and deposit of soil and other material] that

(i) prohibit soil removal, or

(ii) prohibit the deposit of soil or other material, making reference to quality of the soil or material or to contamination.

(2) For certainty, this section does not apply to

(a) a bylaw under section 8 [fundamental powers] that is under a provision not referred to in subsection (1) or is in respect of a matter to which subsection (1) does not apply,

(b) a bylaw that is authorized under a provision of this Act other than section 8, or

(c) a bylaw that is authorized under another Act,

even if the bylaw could have been made under an authority to which this section does apply.

(3) Recognizing the Provincial interest in matters dealt with by bylaws referred to in subsection (1), a council may not adopt a bylaw to which this section applies unless the bylaw is

(a) in accordance with a regulation under subsection (4),

(b) in accordance with an agreement under subsection (5), or

(c) approved by the minister responsible.

(4) The minister responsible may, by regulation, do the following:

(a) establish matters in relation to which municipalities may exercise authority as contemplated by subsection (3) (a), either

(i) by specifying the matters in relation to which they may exercise authority, or

(ii) by providing that the restriction under subsection (3) only applies in relation to specified matters;

(b) provide that the exercise of that authority is subject to the restrictions and conditions established by the regulation;

(c) provide that the exercise of that authority may be made subject to restrictions and conditions specified by the minister responsible or by a person designated by name or title in the regulation.

(5) The minister responsible may enter into an agreement with one or more municipalities that has the same effect in relation to the municipalities as a regulation that could be made under subsection (4).

(6) If

(a) a regulation or agreement under this section is amended or repealed, and

(b) the effect of the amendment or repeal is that bylaws that previously did not require authorization under subsection (3) would now require that authorization,

those bylaws affected that were validly in force at the time of the amendment or repeal continue in force as if they had been approved by that minister.

Division 2 — Scope of Jurisdiction

Relationship with Provincial laws

10  (1) A provision of a municipal bylaw has no effect if it is inconsistent with a Provincial enactment.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), unless otherwise provided, a municipal bylaw is not inconsistent with another enactment if a person who complies with the bylaw does not, by this, contravene the other enactment.

Area of jurisdiction

11  (1) A municipality and its council may only exercise or perform their powers, duties and functions within the boundaries of the municipality, unless authorized under this or another Act.

(2) The natural person powers of a municipality may be exercised outside the boundaries of the municipality.

(3) If a municipality has established works or facilities outside the boundaries of the municipality for the purposes of a municipal service, the council's power to regulate, prohibit and impose requirements in relation to the use of those works and facilities may be exercised outside the boundaries of the municipality.

Division 3 — Ancillary Powers

Authority to establish variations, terms and conditions

12  (1) A municipal bylaw under this Act may do one or more of the following:

(a) make different provisions for different areas, times, conditions or circumstances as described by bylaw;

(b) establish different classes of persons, places, activities, property or things;

(c) make different provisions, including exceptions, for different classes established under paragraph (b).

(2) A council may, in exercising its powers under section 8 (1) [natural person powers], establish any terms and conditions it considers appropriate.

Services outside municipality

13  (1) A municipality may provide a service in an area outside the municipality, but it must first obtain consent as follows:

(a) if the area is in another municipality, the council must obtain the consent of the council of the other municipality;

(b) if the area is not in another municipality and is not treaty lands, the council must obtain the consent of the regional district board for the area.

(2) In giving consent under subsection (1), the other local government may establish terms and conditions, including terms and conditions respecting

(a) limits on the service to be provided in its area, and

(b) the process for terminating provision of the service in its area.

(3) If consent is given as referred to in subsection (1), the municipal powers, duties and functions provided under this or any other Act in relation to the service may be exercised in the area referred to in that subsection, subject to any applicable terms and conditions established under subsection (2).

Services within treaty lands

13.1  (1) A municipality may provide a service within treaty lands under an agreement with the treaty first nation.

(2) An agreement under subsection (1) must set out the terms and conditions on which the service is provided within the treaty lands, including terms and conditions respecting

(a) limits on the service to be provided under the agreement, and

(b) the process for terminating provision of the service under the agreement.

(3) If an agreement is entered into under subsection (1), subject to the terms and conditions of that agreement and to the final agreement, the municipal powers, duties and functions provided under this or any other Act in relation to the service may be exercised within the treaty lands of the treaty first nation.

Intermunicipal service, regulatory and other schemes

14  (1) Two or more municipalities may, by bylaw adopted by the council of each participating municipality, establish an intermunicipal scheme in relation to one or more matters for which they have authority under this Act or the Local Government Act.

(2) A bylaw under subsection (1) may do one or more of the following:

(a) provide that the bylaws of one or more of the participating municipalities in relation to the matters dealt with by the scheme apply in other participating municipalities;

(b) provide that the municipal powers, duties and functions of one or more of the participating municipalities may be exercised in relation to the scheme in another participating municipality;

(c) provide that the council of one or more of the participating municipalities may delegate under Division 6 [Delegation] of Part 5 [Municipal Government and Procedures] to council members, council committees, officers, employees and other bodies referred to in section 154 (1) [delegation of council authority] of another participating municipality;

(d) restrict a participating municipality from separately exercising its authority in relation to the matters dealt with by the scheme;

(e) establish the process by which a participating municipality may withdraw from the scheme.

(3) If an intermunicipal service scheme is established under this section, this section rather than section 13 applies.

Licensing and standards authority

15  (1) A council may, in regulating under this Act or the Local Government Act, provide for a system of licences, permits or approvals, including by doing one or more of the following:

(a) prohibiting any activity or thing until a licence, permit or approval has been granted;

(b) providing for the granting and refusal of licences, permits and approvals;

(c) providing for the effective periods of licences, permits and approvals;

(d) establishing

(i) terms and conditions of, or

(ii) terms and conditions that must be met for obtaining, continuing to hold or renewing

a licence, permit or approval, or providing that such terms and conditions may be imposed, the nature of the terms and conditions and who may impose them;

(e) providing for the suspension or cancellation of licences, permits and approvals for

(i) failure to comply with a term or condition of a licence, permit or approval, or

(ii) failure to comply with the bylaw;

(f) providing for reconsideration or appeals of decisions made with respect to the granting, refusal, suspension or cancellation of licences, permits and approvals.

(2) A council may, in regulating in relation to a matter under this Act or the Local Government Act,

(a) establish a standard, code or rule by adopting a standard, code or rule

(i) published by a provincial, national or international body or standards association, or

(ii) enacted as or under a law of this or another jurisdiction, including a foreign jurisdiction, and

(b) adopt the standard, code or rule under paragraph (a)

(i) in whole, in part or with any changes considered appropriate, and

(ii) as it stands at a specific date, as it stands at the time of adoption or as amended from time to time.

Authority to enter on or into property

16  (1) This section applies in relation to an authority under this or another Act for a municipality to enter on property.

(2) The authority may be exercised by officers or employees of the municipality or by other persons authorized by the council.

(3) Subject to this section, the authority includes authority to enter on property, and to enter into property, without the consent of the owner or occupier.

(4) Except in the case of an emergency, a person

(a) may only exercise the authority at reasonable times and in a reasonable manner, and

(b) must take reasonable steps to advise the owner or occupier before entering the property.

(5) The authority may only be used to enter into a place that is occupied as a private dwelling if any of the following applies:

(a) the occupier consents;

(b) the municipality has given the occupier at least 24 hours' written notice of the entry and the reasons for it;

(c) the entry is made under the authority of a warrant under this or another Act;

(d) the person exercising the authority has reasonable grounds for believing that failure to enter may result in a significant risk to the health or safety of the occupier or other persons;

(e) the entry is for a purpose referred to in subsection (6) (a) in relation to regulations, prohibitions or requirements applicable to the place that is being entered.

(6) Without limiting the matters to which this section applies, a municipality may enter on property for any of the following purposes:

(a) to inspect and determine whether all regulations, prohibitions and requirements are being met in relation to any matter for which the council, a municipal officer or employee or a person authorized by the council has exercised authority under this or another Act to regulate, prohibit and impose requirements;

(b) to take action authorized under section 17 (1) [municipal action at defaulter's expense];

(c) in relation to section 18 [authority to discontinue providing a service], to disconnect or remove the system or works of the service;

(d) to assess or inspect in relation to the exercise of authority under section 8 (3) (c) [spheres of authority — trees].

Municipal action at defaulter's expense

17  (1) The authority of a council under this or another Act to require that something be done includes the authority to direct that, if a person subject to the requirement fails to take the required action, the municipality may

(a) fulfill the requirement at the expense of the person, and

(b) recover the costs incurred from that person as a debt.

(2) Division 14 [Recovery of Special Fees] of Part 7 [Municipal Revenue] applies to an amount recoverable under subsection (1) that is incurred for work done or services provided in relation to land or improvements.

Authority to discontinue providing a service

18  (1) A municipality may, by bylaw, establish circumstances in which it may discontinue providing a municipal utility or other service to a specific property or person

(a) because of unpaid fees or taxes in relation to the service, or

(b) because of non-compliance with the rules established by bylaw or contract respecting the use of the service.

(2) A bylaw under subsection (1)

(a) must include provision for reasonable notice, and

(b) in relation to a discontinuation under subsection (1) (b), must include provision for the persons affected to have an opportunity to make representations to council.

Requirements for security to be paid to municipality

19  (1) This section applies if

(a) a bylaw requires a person to provide the municipality with security, or

(b) the council or a person authorized by the council requires a person to provide security to the municipality as a condition of a licence, permit or approval.

(2) The person who is subject to the requirement may, at that person's option, provide the security by

(a) a cash deposit,

(b) an irrevocable letter of credit, or

(c) another form of security satisfactory to the council or the person who imposed the requirement for the security.

(3) The municipality must deal with the security as follows:

(a) interest on the security becomes part of the security;

(b) the security may only be used for the purpose for which it was provided;

(c) any amount not required for that purpose must be returned to the person who provided the security.

Emergency powers

20  (1) If an emergency within the meaning of the Emergency Program Act arises in a municipality, the council has the powers provided under that Act.

(2) If another form of emergency arises in a municipality, the council may declare that the emergency exists and provide for the necessary powers to deal with the emergency.

Contents | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Schedule