Inasmuch as we have included an Interpretation By-law with this manual, we have opted to provide fairly extensive “interpretations” with each and every by-law. This means we have quite comprehensive “definition” sections with each by-law.
What we have aimed to do with the Interpretation by-law is to draw heavily from the Interpretation Act and to includethose parts of that Act which has relevance to municipal by-laws. This does not mean that we are replacing the Act, but it should limit significantly the need to refer to the Act.
The key benefit of the Interpretation By-law is that it contains a number of definitions principally designed to avoid the necessity of making reference in by-law provisions to the fuller legal name of the entity. For example, a reference to “Council” will mean the “Council of the municipal corporation of the Town of Muni”. Much shorter, but conferring the same meaning in law.
F DISCLAIMER The reader is cautioned that editorial and drafting choices involve interpretation of the law. Municipal units should consult with their own legal advisors before relying upon, and applying to their own circumstances, the comments or drafts contained in this Manual.
The legal effect of the model by-law documents may be affected by legal developments since the time of drafting. Additionally, the documents may be subject to particular legal issues affecting your municipality. Other errors or omissions may have found their way into the documents. The model by-laws should not be enacted without prior review with your Municipal solicitor. The publishers, editors, and authors of this manual accept no liability for any claims arising from the use of this Manual.
inally, the adoption of an Interpretation By-law creates a hierarchy: this by-law has application and will take precedence over the ordinary meaning contained in an individual by-law unless the context suggests otherwise.
This By-Law is entitled the “Interpretation By-Law”.
In this By-Law:
“existing or future by-law, policy, recorded resolution or resolution” means a by-law, policy, recorded resolution or resolution of the [Municipality] in force immediately before the coming into force of this By-Law, or a by-law, by-law amendment, policy, policy amendment or resolution of the [Municipality] which comes into force after the coming into force of this By-Law.
In this By-Law and in any existing or future by-law, policy, recorded resolution or resolution, unless the context otherwise requires:
words importing only one gender include the masculine, feminine and neutral genders;
all references to officers or employees of the [Municipality] include a person authorized or appointed in an interim or “acting” capacity;
all references to an employee of the [Municipality] include references to subordinate employees authorized to act in place of or on behalf of the employee;
all references to committees are references to committees of the [Municipality];
all references to the time of day shall be to that system of time in use in the [Municipality] at the relevant time whether it be "Atlantic Standard Time: or "Atlantic Daylight Time";
words in any by-law, policy, recorded resolution or resolution have the meaning ascribed to them in definitions in that by-law, policy, recorded resolution or resolution, and, if no definition is contained therein or if the context indicates otherwise,
they have the meaning ascribed to them in section  of this By-Law, and, if no definition is contained herein or if the context indicates otherwise;
they have the meaning ascribed to them in definitions in the legislation enabling that by-law, policy, recorded resolution or resolution, and, if no definition is contained therein or if the context indicates otherwise;
they have the meaning ascribed to them in definitions in the Interpretation Act;
For purposes of section [3(7)(a)] of this By-Law, the following definitions apply unless the context otherwise requires:
“[e.g. Municipality OR Region OR County OR Town]” means [insert full legal name of the municipal unit] and “[Municipal OR Regional]” has a corresponding meaning;
“Building Inspector” means the Building Inspector of the [Municipality];
“by-law” means by-law of the [Municipality];
“By-Law Enforcement Officer” means the employee(s) of the [Municipality] appointed to enforce some or all by-laws of the [Municipality];
“Chief Administrative Officer” or “CAO” means the Chief Administrative Officer of the [Municipality];
“Clerk” means the Clerk of the [Municipality];
“Council” means the Council of the [Municipality];
“Treasurer” means the Treasurer of the [Municipality];
Clerk’s Annotation For Official By-Law Book Date of first reading: ____________
Date of advertisement of Notice of Intent to Consider:____________
Date of second reading:____________
*Date of advertisement of Passage of By-Law:____________
Date of mailing to Minister a certified copy of By-Law:____________
I certify that this INTERPRETATION BY-LAW was adopted by Council and published as indicated above.
* Effective Date of the By-Law unless otherwise specified in the text of the By-Law
Interpretation By-Law Editor’s Annotations Enabling Legislation No specific authority, beyond the authority to pass the substantive by-laws.
Important Notice The reader is cautioned that editorial and drafting choices involve interpretation of the law. Municipal units should consult with their own legal advisors before relying upon, and applying to their own circumstances, the comments or drafts contained in this Manual.
Please note the comments in the User’s Guide under the heading “Interpretation and Enforcement and Penalties By-Law”.
The legislative authority for an Interpretation By-Law stems from the substantive by-law, policy and resolution-making authority over the subjects set out in the legislation. By using an Interpretation By-Law, a [Municipality] is in effect splitting into two by-laws matters which could be contained exclusively within the by-law dealing with the specific substantive subject matter.
In the absence of an Interpretation By-Law, the Interpretation Act will likely apply to municipal by-laws (because the Act applies to “regulations” which include “by-laws”.
The model By-Law has been drafted to assist in the interpretation of existing bylaws and future by-laws as well as policies, recorded resolutions and ordinary resolutions of Council. The rules of interpretation and definitions contained within the by-law are not absolute and specifically are subject to:
context requiring another interpretation; and
The specific definitions contained within the by-law, policy or resolution which is being interpreted.
Section 3 contains some general rules of interpretation, including conventional rules about singular/plural numbers and masculine/feminine/neutral genders and references to time.
Subsection (7) of section 3 contains an interpretive hierarchy for definitions found in by-laws, enabling legislation and the Provincial Interpretation Act (which Act serves the same purpose for statutes that an Interpretation By-Law serves for by-laws).
Amongst other general rules of interpretation, section 3 contains rules allowing employees in an “acting” position or subordinate employees to act on behalf of their principals. Legal advice should be obtained regarding whether this is consistent with the statutory authority in any particular instance.
Section 4 contains a number of definitions principally designed to avoid the necessity of making reference in by-law provisions to the full legal name of the municipal unit when referring to that municipal unit or to one of its employees or officers. These should be tailored to suit each municipal unit’s circumstances.