The City of Port Alberni is joining B.C.’s bylaw adjudication program, which is aimed at saving time and money for residents and local governments.
The program allows municipal residents to dispute minor bylaw infractions through an independent adjudicator, instead of in a traditional courtroom.
The bylaw adjudication program is available to all municipalities throughout the province. When a municipality signs up, it determines which bylaws it would like included in the process. Port Alberni plans to use the system to enforce a wide range of minor bylaws that include business licenses, animal control, property maintenance, noise control, collection and disposal of waste products, building and related standards, zoning, signage, traffic regulations, fireworks and fire regulations.
As part of ongoing transformation of the justice system, the B.C. government is increasing the number of options to resolve disputes, when appropriate, without requiring individuals to use the courts. Out-of-court options help to streamline the process, shorten the time required to resolve disputes and ultimately cut costs for both the individual and taxpayer. By diverting matters from the courts, court resources can be appropriately focused on more serious matters.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton -
“With the inclusion of Port Alberni, we now have 67 municipalities using the bylaw adjudication system in our province. This system allows disputes to be dealt with more quickly and efficiently out of the courtroom, while freeing up the courts time for more pressing matters.”
City of Port Alberni Mayor John Douglas -
“One of the goals of this change is that the bylaw adjudication system will provide Port Alberni residents with more timely and efficient resolution of their minor bylaw disputes resulting in a more efficient use of taxpayer dollars.”
- Dispute adjudication issues range from parking tickets to dog licensing and minor zoning infractions.
- The City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver and District of West Vancouver were the first in B.C. to establish a bylaw adjudication system as part of a 2004 pilot project.
- Port Alberni joins Esquimalt, Tofino, Parksville, Nanaimo and Duncan in using this system on Vancouver Island.
- Individual municipalities track the number of bylaws managed by the adjudication process, and have screening officers who attempt to resolve disputes prior to the formal adjudication. The overall process has resolved and adjudicated several thousand matters since the inception of the program.
- Independent adjudicators are appointed by the deputy attorney general. The qualifications are prescribed in regulation and include:
- Experience as an adjudicator of disputes.
- Post-secondary training in adjudication.
- Successful completion of specialized bylaw dispute adjudication training.
Ministry of Justice
Government Communications and Public Engagement