Long Form Prosecution (BC)
Last revised April 16, 2019

Long form prosecutions are a type of bylaw enforcement.

Section 263 of the Community Charter authorizes a municipality to proceed with a quasi criminal prosecution of a bylaw offence with a maximum fine of up to $10,000. Under s. 263.1 of the Community Charter  additional sentencing powers are included authorizing the court to impose a one year maximum injunction or restitution orders. These powers are set out for regional districts in ss. 267 and 267.1 of the Local Government Act .

Local governments can commence proceedings under the Offence Act in B.C. Provincial Court by swearing an information (sections 11 to 13 and s. 25) before a court official that sets out the details of the offence. The information must be served on the accused, and once it is served, the offence comes under the jurisdiction of the Provincial Court. However, as provincial Crown Counsel may not prosecute bylaw offences, municipalities may hire their own lawyers, or enforcement officers may act as prosecutors (section 63.1).

According to the Green Bylaws Toolkit, “although long-form prosecutions involve a lengthy Provincial Court process, they are appropriate for major offences if a larger fine is warranted and if a variety of remedies is desired, for example, habitat restoration or payment of the costs of investigation to the local government.”

 

References

Green Bylaws Tookit by the Environmental Law Centre, University of Victoria, 2007.

“Regulatory Powers” by K. Stuart, in the CLE Municipal Law Basics, 2009 - on-site at Courthouse Libraries