Reporting By-law Infractions
COMMON BY-LAW INFRACTIONS
It is VERY IMPORTANT to review all the information on this page to understand the ‘big picture’ in reporting by-law infractions.
The most common by-law infractions in the residential areas around the University of Manitoba are listed below, along with details on HOW to PROPERLY report them and the EXPECTED City of Winnipeg action once reported:
- Garbage and Fire Hazards
- Long Grass
- Loud Excessive Noise
- Multiple Tenants in Single Family Home
- Multiple Vehicles in Front & Rear Yards
- Open Fires and Fire Pits
- Vacant House
REPORTING POTENTIAL INFRACTIONS
The #1 reason for lack of by-law enforcement is improper reporting of an infraction. It is absolutely critical to:
- Learn how to PROPERLY report a potential by-law infraction;
- Take action and REPORT the potential by-law infraction!
All potential by-law infractions must be reported by calling 311 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
We HIGHLY recommend using e-mail as it is a more efficient use of time. Winnipeg’s 311 Service Centre receives over 1.5 million enquiries each year, and callers often experience long wait times. E-mail takes only a couple minutes, and helps by documenting your concern for future reference.
Simply put, enforcement cannot occur if the infraction is not PROPERLY reported. The City of Winnipeg operates on a ‘complaint based system’, meaning there is no one patrolling the entire City looking for by-law infractions. It is up to each one of us to report potential infractions!
RECORD OF REPORTS
Each report made to Winnipeg’s 311 Service Centre for a potential by-law infraction is recorded with the address of the property in question. A City By-Law Enforcement Officer can request a list of all by-law infractions for a specific property. If the Officer observes a high number of reports on an address, it is a “red flag”, an indication of a situation that should be prioritized.
It takes only a few minutes for citizens to report potential infractions, because nothing will be acted on if there are no reports of infractions. If you would like the City By-law Enforcement Officer to call you back, say so, and include your phone number in the email.
The operations of Winnipeg’s 311 Service Centre are governed by The Freedom of Information and Personal Privacy Act (FIPPA), legislated by the Government of Manitoba. FIPPA ensures that your personal information is protected.
CITY OF WINNIPEG BY-LAWS
The City of Winnipeg has many types of By-Laws: SEE Complete list of City By-Laws. However, the housing issues we deal with in the area around the University of Manitoba fall into two primary by-law groups:
- Zoning By-Laws: Regulate the use and development of land
- Neighbourhood Liveability By-Laws: Regulate the maintenance of properties and other aspects of neighbourhood liveability in order to develop and maintain safe, orderly, viable and sustainable communities and to promote and maintain the health, safety and welfare of residents.
ENFORCEMENT OF BY-LAWS
Over 16,000 reports of potential by-law infractions are made to 311 every year. The City’s Service Level Agreement states a by-law infraction will be investigated within 10 business days. However, the months of May and October are extremely busy, which can result in it taking up to 30 business days to investigate a by-law infraction.
The City of Winnipeg aims to bring properties into compliance, not by immediately fining or issuing tickets, but by working with property owners to correct the infraction.
Every inspection as well as repeat follow-up inspections are documented, knowing that if compliance does not occur, the By-Law Enforcement Officer will issue a Court Order. In order for it to stand up in Court and be enforced, the charge must be accompanied by solid documentation proving that the Officer did everything in his/her power to reach compliance.
Some people feel the current by-laws do not have ‘enough teeth’, as the system is based on working to bring properties into compliance. One of the goals of the Fort Richmond – University Heights Neighbourhood Associations is to work towards enabling stronger and more timely enforced by-laws.