Concurrent Regulatory Authority
of the Community Charter establishes the concept of concurrent
regulatory authority. The legislation recognizes that in five spheres, municipalities and
the province have a shared interest in regulating activities.
The Community Charter concurrent authority provisions apply to bylaws that deal with:
Municipalities are provided with powers to adopt bylaws in the spheres of concurrent
authority. However, this municipal authority is subject to provincial involvement. The
Community Charter’s concurrent authority provisions also apply to regional
districts for three of the five spheres (i.e., building standards, public health, and
prohibition of soil deposit or removal).
What to consider
Under the Community Charter’s concurrent authority provisions, any new municipal bylaw or amendment to an existing bylaw that relates to one of the five spheres of concurrent authority will require some level of provincial participation. Bylaws related to the five spheres of concurrent authority must:
Four ministers are designated as responsible for the five spheres of concurrent
authority (see diagram). The appointed Minister has primary responsibility for the
matters covered in the respective sphere.
How to proceed
Before adopting a bylaw, each council/regional
board will want to determine if the matter under consideration falls
under the concurrent spheres of authority, and whether they require
By regulation, the minister responsible may
define the scope of the provincial interest regarding a particular
sphere of concurrent authority. If a bylaw is in accordance with
the relevant minister’s regulation, the bylaw may be adopted without
having to obtain ministerial approval. So, the council/regional
board will want to determine if there is a regulation in place that
is relevant to the matter they are considering.
Regulations in Relation to Concurrent AuthoritySection 9 of the Community Charter provides that a minister’s regulation may: establish the matters in relation to which municipalities may exercise their concurrent regulatory authority; provide that the exercise of that authority is subject to certain restrictions and conditions; or specify those matters which are subject to the minister’s approval.
The following regulations have been developed regarding concurrent authority:
The Buildings and other Structures Bylaws Regulation clarifies the types of
structures that local governments may regulate autonomously, such as those
buildings or structures exempted from the BC Building Code.
The regulation provides that bylaws that establish technical building standards that are different from the standards established by the BC Building Code will require approval by the Minister responsible. A council/regional board is also restricted from extending or changing the application of the BC Building Code, as specified in the regulation.
The Public Health Bylaws Regulation requires
that a council/regional board must consult with the regional health
board or the Medical Health Officer responsible for public health
matters within the municipality before any health related bylaw can
This regulation also provides that bylaws
relating to the protection, promotion or preservation of the health
of individuals, or the maintenance of sanitary conditions within the
municipality must be deposited with the Minister responsible. A bylaw that restricts or
has the potential to restrict an individual’s access to health services or that
may impact health authority resources will require the Minister’s approval.
A Consultation Agreement (49 KB) among the Ministry of Health, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, and the Ministry of Community Services establishes an effective intergovernmental mechanism to share information regarding the operation of the Public Health Bylaws Regulation. The Agreement outlines the framework by which the parties monitor, review and amend the ministerial regulation over time, and establishes an open and manageable process for discussing the emerging interest of both the provincial and local governments in public health. The Consultation Agreement also sets out the process by which local government bylaws covered by the regulation will be deposited or approved, and then brought into force.
The Environment and Wildlife regulation establishes the types of bylaws that may be adopted in the concurrent spheres of protection of the natural environment and wildlife. The regulation provides that a council may regulate and prohibit activities affecting waterways, as well as regulate, prohibit and impose requirements in relation to the sale of wild flowers. Under this regulation, municipalities are also granted new authorities to regulate, prohibit and impose requirements in relation to:
The regulation does contain some specific restrictions on municipal
powers in relation to the application of pesticides.
A Consultation Agreement
(74 KB) among the Ministry of Environment, the Union of BC Municipalities and the Ministry
of Community Services establishes an effective intergovernmental
mechanism to provide advice and recommendations on the content of
the Environment and Wildlife Regulation. The Agreement sets out the
framework by which the parties monitor, review and amend the
ministerial regulation over time. The Consultation Agreement also
specifies areas in which municipal regulatory authority will not be
provided. These are areas of provincial interest, such as waste
management, air quality management, and wildlife and fish
Soil Removal and DepositCurrently, there are no regulations being developed in relation to the prohibition of soil removal or deposit. Municipal bylaws prohibiting soil removal or prohibiting the deposit of soil or other material, making reference to the quality of the soil or to contamination, will continue to require approval of the minister responsible.
For more information on the concurrent regulations and the ministerial
approval processes, use the related link or contact information below.