Frequently Asked Questions

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Dispute process and fine collection

  • How do I dispute my ticket?

    Bylaw Notices may be disputed by telephone, in writing or in person. Please check the back of your Bylaw Notice for instructions on how to initiate your dispute.

    If you received a Municipal Ticket Information, the dispute process is through the Provincial Court system. The back of your ticket will also outline this process.

  • Do I have to go to Provincial Court?

    The District will typically issue Bylaw Notices for fines up to a maximum of $500. Bylaw Notices can be disputed without going to Provincial Court. If you wish to dispute a Bylaw Notice, you will be assigned a Bylaw Adjudicator who will hear your dispute and make an unbiased decision.

    If you receive and wish to dispute a traditional ticket (issued as a Municipal Ticket Information or MTI, up to a maximum fine $1000), you will be required to dispute it through Provincial Court. 

  • What does it cost me to dispute my Bylaw Notice?

    A $25 fee will be added to the penalty if an adjudicator finds the contravention did occur, and the dispute is unsuccessful. 

  • How long does the dispute process take?

    The time frame for a dispute to be processed, once screened by the District’s Screening Officer, is approximately one to three months. This time frame is dependent on the North Shore Bylaw Dispute Adjudication Registry Schedule, of which we’re part of. 

  • Is there an incentive discount for paying the fine early?

    Yes, there is a 10% early discount. Information on the early discount schedule is outlined on the back of the Bylaw Notice. 

  • What if I don’t get my ticket waived; can I still pay the discounted “early bird” fine?

    Discounted rates only apply if you have paid within 14 days of issuance of the ticket. If you dispute the ticket and you are unsuccessful in your dispute, the full set fine is to be paid.

  • What is the difference between a Screening Officer and an Adjudicator?

    The District’s Screening Officer reviews each disputed ticket to ensure that the information is correct, and initiates the adjudication process. The Screening Officer also has the authority to cancel a ticket or enter into a compliance agreement. An independent adjudicator is a professional person who can make an unbiased decision in the event of a dispute. The adjudicator is the authority that makes the final determination.  

    The appointment, training and management of the adjudicator roster occurs at arms-length from the local government. Adjudicators are appointed by the Deputy Attorney General following a transparent procurement process.

  • Do I need to appear before the Adjudicator in person?

    No, it is not necessary to appear before the Adjudicator in person, unless it is preferred. Disputes are regularly adjudicated over the phone or in writing (e-mail). 

  • Does this mean that the District will issue more fines?

    While the vast majority of Squamish citizens comply voluntarily with the District’s regulatory bylaws, compliance or enforcement based on education and warnings alone is not appropriate in all circumstances. The District has adopted a new Bylaw Enforcement Complaint Policy that provides clarity on how bylaw enforcement is applied, and how complaints are responded to. 

  • How will the District collect fines?

    Fines can be paid by cash, cheque or debit in person at Municipal Hall, or via the After Hours Drop Box (to the right of the main front doors at Municipal Hall). Fines can also be paid at the RCMP building on Finch Road, which accepts credit cards in addition to cash, cheque or debit.

    The District will also seek collection of outstanding fines, which may result in collections proceedings being applied.

  • Who can issue a fine?

    Bylaw notices can be issued by:

    • Bylaw or Animal Control Officers
    • Building Inspectors
    • Environmental Coordinator
    • Fire Chief and/or Fire Inspectors
    • RCMP Officers
    • Conservation Officers
    • Other designated District staff and agencies

     

  • What is the difference between a ticket and a notice?

    The differences between a Bylaw Notice and a Municipal Ticket Information (MTIs) include:

    • Personal service is not required for a Bylaw Notice i.e. a Bylaw Notice may be simply left on a vehicle.
    • Bylaw Notices may be disputed through the Bylaw Adjudication System; traditional tickets (Municipal Ticket Information/MTIs) may only be disputed through the Provincial Court System.
    • Bylaw Notices have a maximum fine amount of $500; MTIs have a maximum fine amount of $1,000. 
  • What happens if I don’t pay the fine?

    The District will take necessary steps to collect on outstanding fines, which could result in collections proceedings. 

  • What is the difference between a fee and a fine?

    A fine is a legal penalty that can be disputed. All District of Squamish fines are legal and considered a penalty.

    A fee is a non-negotiable administrative amount, generally as payment for a service that cannot be disputed (i.e. Dog Licence Fee, Business Licence Fee).

     

  • Why the change to an adjudication process? What are the benefits?

    Benefits of an adjudication are many, and include:

    • Disputes will be resolved locally with a minimum of process and cost, benefiting both the community and the person disputing the infraction;
    • Provincial Court time is minimized;
    • Those who are challenging tickets no longer wait all day for court hearing;
    • Those who are challenging tickets do not have to leave work or home in order to have a hearing;
    • Reduces the costs associated with using a Provincial Court judge to hear minor disputes in court;
    • Reduces the need to employ/require lawyers or enforcement officers to take minor cases to court.

Submitting a bylaw complaint

  • How do I report a Bylaw infraction/complaint?

    Bylaw Enforcement Officers can be contacted by telephone at 604-815-5067, or by email at bylaw@squamish.ca. If you reach voicemail, please leave a detailed message as the officers may be out on patrol.  An officer will respond within 72 hours to general nuisance complaints, although we aim to respond sooner. Health, safety and environmental impact complaints will be prioritized. 

  • What if I don't want to provide my name on a complaint?

    You must identify yourself when making a complaint as the District will not accept anonymous ones. The identity of any complainant is confidential unless the complainant has agreed to be identified or unless an order has been made by the Provincial Freedom of Information Commissioner. In almost all cases, the Privacy Commissioner has sided with municipal policy and not allowed the release of complainant information. It is your choice, but if you choose to remain anonymous, we will not act on the information unless we believed the public would be at risk if we didn’t respond. 

  • What happens after a complaint is made?

    The complaint is reviewed to determine if it is valid and related to District Bylaws. If it is, a file is created and assigned to a Bylaw Enforcement Officer. In some cases, the complaint is valid, but it relates to a law that is administered by another government agency. In that case, you will be provided with contact information for the other agency.

  • How long does it take to get compliance?

    Depending on the specific circumstances, the Bylaw Enforcement Officer will aim to negotiate a reasonable compliance plan and time frame to achieve voluntary compliance. The compliance plan may accommodate unusual circumstances (such as seasonal or financial constraints, or personal situation) which means a property owner may be given extra time to comply. However, compliance or enforcement based on education and warnings is not appropriate in all circumstances. More direct enforcement approaches to achieve compliance, including immediate ticketing, may occur. View the District's Bylaw Enforcement Complaints Policy for further details. 

  • Does anyone check back to confirm compliance?

    Yes. Bylaw Enforcement Officers inspect to confirm that voluntary compliance has taken place before closing a file. However, in some instances, a property owner will violate the bylaw again at a later date and a new complaint may be necessary to reopen the file. 

  • Will legal action be taken to gain compliance?

    If it becomes obvious that voluntary compliance is not occurring, the Bylaw Enforcement Officer may either issue tickets or recommend that the District approve legal action to acquire a court order to gain compliance. If the violation is serious or ongoing, the District may take immediate legal action.

  • Is every violator given time to comply voluntarily?

    Not necessarily. If the violation is serious or ongoing, the District may take immediate legal action.

  • Does every violation and complaint get the same priority?

    No. The Bylaw Enforcement Complaint Policy outlines three categories of enforcement responses, and the priorities and enforcement actions that accompany each. The three categories, in order of priority level are: 1) Health and safety (including environment); 2) Significant negative impact to adjacent properties, and 3) General nuisance.

  • Do Bylaw Enforcement Officers proactively patrol, or respond only on a complaint basis?

    Bylaw Enforcement Officers work in the community both in response to complaints, and proactively on a variety of bylaw compliance issues such as enforcing safe routes to school, parking infractions, and snow clearing. 

  • If I contact a member of Council about a violation, will a Bylaw Officer investigate?

    Members of District of Squamish Council will refer you to the Bylaw Enforcement team if you wish to make a formal complaint. Please contact the Bylaw Office directly to outline your concerns. 

  • Is the District required to enforce its bylaws?

    No. If this was a legal requirement, it would require on-going patrols and considerably more resources at taxpayers’ expense. Council adopts an annual budget for bylaw enforcement that it considers adequate for the job, yet affordable for taxpayers. Bylaw enforcement activities take place within the limits of the District’s annual budget. 

    Bylaw enforcement is primarily complaint driven, but our officers proactively patrol the community to detect violations as well. Policies developed by Council give the bylaw enforcement team additional direction about bylaw enforcement priorities to ensure that the needs of the community are being met.

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