What Is A By- Law?

By-Laws are a set of rules and regulations made by Band Chief and Council based on the needs of their communities. These laws are passed through the powers transcribed in the Indian Act under sections 81, 83 and 85.1. They are put in place as a way to regulate community activities, or solve existing problems to create stronger community based connections.


The Goal of a By-Law is to ensure the safety and well being of the community through decisions made by Chief and  Council. While also functioning as a way to educate, and inform the community on the expectations they are to abide by. This is meant as a deterrent for participating in activities not allowed within the community.

However, By Laws are not only focused on individuals but also the products that are entering the community. By regulating the incoming products, such as Intoxicants, a by law can set the standard for what will and what will not enter a community. This is meant to ensure the safety of community members and any future addition to the community.

Questions to Consider

When a Community Council makes the decision to draft a By Law  for the benefit and well being of their communities, there is a great deal that must be considered .

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Can we enforce this
  • How will this affect the community
  • What are the Penalties for breaking a By-Law
  • Will it be Repealed based on wording
  • Does it capture the needs of the Community


By Laws are created to cover issues in the best interests of the community. They are enforced as a means of protection, represent the needs or wants of a specific area. Community’s will differ from others on specific bylaws.

By Laws Topics:

  • Restrictions on Intoxicants
  • Animal/Dog Control
  • Curfew hours for Youth or Adults
  • Disposal of Waste
  • Trespassing
  • Housing
  • Control of Firearms
  • Traffic or Motor Vehicle Restrictions
  • Law and Order within the Community


Enforcement is a necessity when drafting a By Law. You need proper strategy for the By Law to be effective. It is crucial to know who has the capability to enforce any decision on Bylaws, in any given community.

Organizations that can enforce By Laws:

  • Provincial and Federal Courts
  • NAPS Officers
  • Band Councils
  • OPP Officers
  • Community Enforcers