The enforcement function is an essential adjunct to the law-making authority that the Province of British Columbia has conferred under the Local Government Act.
Oak Bay employs a Bylaw Compliance Official, who can be reached by telephone at 250-598-3311. There are also elements of bylaw enforcement in the roles of other officials who have active roles in the administration of the various regulatory bylaws of the Municipality. Under the Police Act, municipal constables also have responsibilities in this area, although in practice their role tends to be limited to situations where there is a criminal component or a potential for disorderly conduct. An example of a municipal regulation for which the Police Department would be the first point of contact would be the Anti-Noise Bylaw.
Local government is unique in that the legislative body, although somewhat removed, is not completely divorced from the law enforcement function. If, for example, there is a situation on a property that, because of a bylaw violation, creates a safety hazard, or if construction has been undertaken without a permit or a required inspection, then a building inspector may recommend to Council that it authorize the registration of a notice to that effect on the title to the property. Such a notice would come to the attention of a prospective purchaser and serves as a strong incentive for compliance.
Council also has the authority to impose a remedial action requirement for a condition that is identified as hazardous.
Although the bulk of the responsibility for the enforcement of general regulatory bylaws falls upon the Bylaw Compliance Official, there are two specific classes of regulations for which special enforcement arrangements have been made.
1. Parking Enforcement - The first is the regulation of parking on the street and other public property, such as the various recreation centres and the Municipal Hall. The Municipality contracts with the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires for the enforcement of parking regulations in a wide variety of categories, such as parking time limits, resident-only restrictions, yellow lines and bus zones, crosswalk encroachment, blocking of driveways, along with others set out in the Streets and Traffic Bylaw and in orders passed under the authority of that enactment. The Police Department also has enforcement authority in all of these areas and will respond to particularly hazardous situations or public nuisances.
In various parts of Oak Bay, "Resident Only" parking restrictions have been enacted. In order to avoid receiving parking tickets if your house is located in one of these zones, it is necessary to obtain a "resident" parking sticker from the Municipal Hall. You will have to provide evidence that your vehicle is registered at an Oak Bay address before a sticker will be issued. Visitors to your home should leave a note on the dashboard of their vehicle to let the parking commissionaire know that they're visiting your house.
Please note that a resident parking sticker is different from the resident sticker required to dump garbage at the Oak Bay Public Works Yard.
2. Animal Control - The other area of enforcement is animal control, and the Municipality contracts with Victoria Animal Control Services Ltd. Regulations dealing with dogs in particular, in respect of both licensing and control, are set out in the Animal Control Bylaw. Victoria Animal Control conducts regular patrols of the Municipality, especially in locations such as Willows Beach, Windsor Park and other areas that are subject to specific dog control regulations. Victoria Animal Control will also respond to calls requiring urgent action or raising significant enforcement issues, and can be reached at 250-414-0233. Victoria Animal Control has the authority to impound animals, and operates a pound and adoption centre at 564 David Street in the City of Victoria. The Police Department will also respond to urgent after-hours animal control calls, and has the ability to call upon Victoria Animal Control where impoundment is required.
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy
Complainants are asked to identify themselves when contacting the Municipality on bylaw enforcement matters. The Municipality does, however, have a formal bylaw enforcement policy which provides, in part, that “where an alleged offence can be substantiated objectively through inspection by a municipal official, a complainant’s identity will be received and held by the Municipality in strict confidence.”
The British Columbia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act also contains provisions which are relevant to the issue of complainant confidentiality.
There are situations (e.g., barking dogs) where enforcement through the courts cannot effectively be pursued unless the complainant is prepared to provide evidence. Such proceeding would be abandoned if the complainant declined to participate in that regard.