City Expanding Penalties for Land Use Offences

Posted on April 04th, 2016

City Council has approved changes to Edmonton’s Zoning Bylaw to expand the list of development regulation and permit violations, and make penalties more proportionate to the offence (item 5.6).  The new list of offences and penalties will come into effect on May 2, 2016, allowing time for the City to communicate the changes to Edmontonians and the development industry.

Changes to the schedule of offences (section 23A) include:

  • Expanding the list of offences and penalties to better capture the range of violations.
  • Making penalties more proportionate to the offence by increasing penalties for more serious offences and reducing penalties for less serious offences.
  • Implementing an escalating scale of specified penalties for repeat offences, or offences that recur or continue after conviction or a guilty plea, to provide greater deterrence.

The City’s preferred approach is to encourage property owners and builders to achieve voluntary compliance where appropriate, prior to taking enforcement action. The current enforcement approach includes a range of possible actions, including violation notices, penalty tickets and Municipal Government Stop Orders.

In determining enforcement action that is reasonable in the circumstances and proportionate to the offence, the City consider a number of factors such as:

  • seriousness of the offence (eg. imminent safety concerns)
  • whether it is a first time or repeat offence
  • impact of the offence on the surrounding properties and/or larger community, and
  • deterring the property owner from committing future offences

The changes in land use penalties and offences is just one of several initiatives the City is working on to help foster a clear understanding of the rules and good practices for infill construction.