In the past six months, Nimonik has observed technical amendments to municipal by-laws which could be easily overlooked. The changes concern fees charged for services rendered, fines used to enforce by-laws, and refinements to certain prohibitions.
In terms of compensation for the use of municipal infrastructure, fees related to sewers and drainage services have increased throughout the country, most notably in the municipalities of Edmonton, the Greater Vancouver Regional District and Saskatoon.
Similarly, fines have increased for the violation of certain prohibitions, for example the city of Calgary has increased fines associated with the By-law 5M2004 Community standards (AB-CY-bylaw5M2004) and the city of Cornwall has increased fines associated with the violation of the By-law 076-1994 Solid waste (ON-CL-bylaw076-1994).
By-laws across the country have also been refined and clarified in terms of what may be considered as an offense. For example, Calgary has defined those sound levels which would violate the By-law 5M2004 Community standards (AB-CY-bylaw5M2004) and the city of Cornwall has designated electronic wastes as a restricted solid waste material.
Although municipalities have not significantly changed the matters they regulate, these small changes remind us that all companies must be vigilant in ensuring operational compliance with the all the details of municipal by-laws. Looking forward to 2015 we expect municipalities to further increase the cost of environmental damage and use of municipal infrastructure. As our cities grow and municipal finances remain tight, an easy target for additional revenues will be the services that companies require to do business. Staying up to date on municipal, provincial and federal regulatory changes is essential for any well managed company.
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