Niverville Hires By-Law Enforcement Company


Niverville’s town council has decided to sign a one-year contract with the Commissionaires for by-law enforcement. The contract went into effect September 1 and will continue until August 31, 2018. Four other companies submitted bids.

“By-law enforcement is something that council had a mandate to take care of this term,” says Niverville Mayor Myron Dyck. “Maybe it’s someone’s water draining onto your yard. Say, the sump hose. Maybe you built a backyard shed, or you put in a patio, but because of what you’ve done it means you are now impacting [your neighbour] negatively in regards to drainage. So before it was council or staff that was dealing with this. That works, but the proper protocol for the municipalities is to bring in by-law enforcement as a third party… It just keeps it non-political, which is what we wanted to do.”

The Commissionaires, a 90-year-old private firm, calls itself Canada’s premier security company and employs more than 21,000 people, many of whom are former military and RCMP. In addition to serving in Niverville, they are utilized by other neighbouring communities, such as Morris, and they come highly recommended.

“We have noticed a trend in the many communities, cities, towns, and RMs of Manitoba to improve their communities’ appearance and functionalities by strengthening their by-laws and engaging qualified, motivated people to help educate their citizens as well as provide enforcement duties,” says Julie Graveline, Client Account Manager for the Commissionaires Manitoba. “This helps the administrative staff focus on other areas of town management, such as development and growth. Commissionaires bring experience and skills to assist the community in their endeavours.”

Graveline also notes the Commissionaires have a long and successful track record when it comes to working alongside other law enforcement agencies, such as the RCMP.

“We work within the by-law structure of the community only, whereas the police have a mandate to enforce federal and provincial statutes,” she says. “Where there are any personal safety concerns for our by-law officers, we can engage law enforcement or other relevant agencies, and in the past we have found this to work very well.”

Council has presented the Commissionaires assigned to Niverville with a clear understanding of their mandate: to give adequate warnings before penalties are issued. Dyck is careful to note that bringing in this new level of enforcement isn’t about generating extra income, but rather to ensure the town’s existing laws are being respected. And in most cases, when people learn about a problem, they can take steps to correct it before penalties come into play.

“Council believes in an education process prior to any particular penalties that get applied,” he says. “[Issuing penalties] is not what we want. When we have to deal with situations, we would rather try and get it done through educating.”

“Our approach is friendly and educational,” Graveline adds. “In our experience, most people who are breaking by-laws often do not know that there is a by-law in place that affects their behaviour. Once they are made aware, most people are very quick to comply. We want to teach people about the by-laws and engage them in contributing to successful and vibrant communities. Niverville is a really lovely town and we are really looking forward to getting to know the citizens of the town.”

Barring that, however, penalties can and will be levied in the case of continued noncompliance, or in cases where there’s an important safety issue.

The role of the Commissionaires will be to enforce town by-laws, but not to play a role in traffic enforcement, except in the case of parking violations. Rather, they will primarily deal with residents who violate town by-laws pertaining to noise, weed control, private infrastructure infractions, etc.

The cost of penalties has been established by town council.

The expense of hiring the company will come out of the town’s general coffers, although it is expected to be subsidized by the penalty fees that do end up being charged. 

The Commissionaires will be paid by the hour. Eric King, Niverville’s business manager, says that the exact hourly rate is variably, depending on where the Commissionaire comes from and whether they are working overtime.

“We have an estimate of $10,000 for the remainder of the year,” says King about the budget. “However, the time this will free up in the office is very beneficial.”

For more information

• The full text of the Town of Niverville’s by-law enforcement measure: Bl778 17 Bylaw Enforcement

• A complete list of town by-laws and penalties: 2017 Administrative Penalties

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