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How are bylaws developed?

Step 1 - Identify a need

A need is identified by either a member of the public, city administration or city council. Animal & Bylaw Services confirms that The City has the authority, under the Municipal Government Act, to create a bylaw addressing that need.

Step 2 – Get council support

If the public has identified a need, they must bring it to the attention of their councillor and receive their councillor's support.

Step 3 – Is a bylaw the best solution?

City administration is directed through a notice of motion to look into the matter. This means working with the public and stakeholders to find a solution. A decision is made on whether the issue is best dealt with by creating a bylaw, or through other means.

In making this decision, administration may take into account the following information:

  • What are other cities doing?
  • Is the subject matter and content within the bylaw-making power of city council?
  • Are there other laws in place to address this?
  • Who will this affect, and how will they be affected?
  • Is it in the general interest of citizens as a whole?
  • What are the risks?
  • What are the benefits?
  • What else should be considered?

Step 4 – Draft bylaw

If a decision is made to create a bylaw, or change an existing bylaw, the city law department produces a draft bylaw.

Step 5 – Committee presentation

City administration presents a report and the draft bylaw to the Committee of Council. There are several committees, each comprised of councillors. Committee meetings are open to citizens, who are allowed to speak on their position for up to five minutes. If you are speaking, you must bring in 35 copies of any information they want distributed and this will form part of the official record. The committee will ask city administration and the public  questions about the bylaw. There may be some debate.

Step 6 – Committee Support

The committee then votes on whether to recommend that the bylaw go to council. Sometimes they have city administration do more research, make changes or consult other groups and then report back to committee at a later date.

Step 7 – Final draft

If the committee recommends that the bylaw go to council, the law department creates a final draft of the bylaw.

Step 8 – Council approval

City council receives the report and the final draft of the bylaw. There may be some questions asked of senior city administration, but most debate should have already taken place at the committee level. Citizens may attand council meetings but may not speak. Council gives the bylaw three readings, voting on each.

Step 9 – Bylaw comes into effect

The bylaw comes into effect once it is signed by the mayor, or on a date specifically identified in the bylaw.​