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.

What Are The Goals?

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.

By- Law Topics

By Laws are created to cover a wide range of issues that revolve around the best interests of the communities. As such, they are enforced as a means of protection and represent the needs or wants of a specific area. Some communities may differ from others on their detailing of specific bylaws.

By Laws can covers such topics as:

  • 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 and without a proper strategy for this, a By Law will not be effective. Therefore, it is important to know who has the capability to enforce any decision on Bylaws within any given community.

Some Organizations who can enforce By Laws:

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

Staff Contact

Nishnawbe Aski Nation Legal Services houses By- Law Facilitators who can assist in giving advise for the content within a Bylaw.

Vernon Morris, By Law Team Lead
Sioux Lookout
Email: vmorris@nanlegal.on.ca

Jordan Akiwenzie,  By Law Facilitator
Phone: (705) 268-1105
Email: jakiwenzie@nanlegal.on.ca

Evangeline Meekis, By Law Facilitator
Thunder Bay
Phone: (807) 629-5042
Email: emeekis@nanlegal.on.ca