By-law Enforcement

By-law Enforcement

The Township of Zorra is taking steps to support our community's response to COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) and measures taken by Southwestern Public Health. We are monitoring our operations daily to ensure we are taking the right actions to protect our residents, employees and visitors. Visit our COVID-19 page for regular updates.

wooden fence

Respecting the rights of other property owners is an important aspect of being a good neighbour.  By-laws and zoning restrictions are in place to ensure one another’s rights and make our community the best place that it can be to live, work and raise our families.  Most situations can be resolved through awareness of the applicable regulations listed on this page.  

Knowing what the rules are can help you and your neighbours: 

  • prevent neighbourhood problems from occurring
  • avoid costly Township and Provincial enforcement fines
  • develop a stronger sense of neighbourliness by working out your problems rather than getting the Township, Police or other department/agency involved

An effective way to deal with neighbourhood problems is for residents to discuss their concerns with one another and work together to arrive at an acceptable solution.  If communication between neighbours is not possible, our By-law Enforcement Officer is available if there is a situation where a resolution is not practicable or if you need advice.   

The Township of Zorra follows a formal By-law Enforcement Policy that governs the handling of by-law complaints and ensures thorough, prompt and courteous receipt, processing, investigation and resolution thereof.  

Complainants are protected under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and every complainant will be kept completely confidential and not be intentionally divulged to any member of Council, the public or media.View the By-law Enforcement Policy for more information. 

Some By-laws of interest to the public are posted on this website under By-laws and Policies.

Municipal Enforcement Unit

Effective May 2021, the Township of Zorra will utilize the services of Municipal Enforcement Unit for all municipal by-law enforcement complaints. Township staff will remain available at the Municipal Office to respond to inquiries and provide routine by-law related information to members of the public. Upon receipt of a formal complaint, Municipal Enforcement Unit will respond and follow up accordingly.

Municipal Enforcement Unit is an independent service provider. They have been providing by-law enforcement services for various municipalities throughout southwestern Ontario for many years. Municipal Enforcement Unit officers are carefully selected and must have security or law enforcement training or have previous employment in the law enforcement or military fields.

The goal of Municipal Enforcement Unit is not to penalize residents of the community, but to achieve compliance to local by-laws through education and the delivery of information to help residents ensure compliance. Compliance with municipal by-laws is intended to preserve the quality of life within the community to which each resident is entitled. Respecting the rights of our neighbours is an important aspect of community living. However, at times, boundaries may be crossed and it is up to our municipal enforcement officers to investigate complaints received from the public about the alleged violation.

It is the philosophy of Municipal Enforcement Unit that willing compliance is always the preferred outcome.

By-law enforcement complaints will continue to be required to be received in writing. The complaint form is available on the Township’s website on the Forms page. The complaint form may be printed out and completed manually or submitted online. Please note that anonymous complaints will not be responded to – all complainant information will be kept strictly confidential.

The process for handling by-law enforcement complaints has been updated to reflect the new role of Municipal Enforcement Unit. A flow chart was created to make the process easy to follow. View the flowchart here.

Smoke-Free Ontario

As of January 1, 2015, it is illegal to:

  • smoke on and around children’s playgrounds and publicly owned sport fields and surfaces (e.g., areas for basketball, baseball, soccer or beach volleyball, ice rinks, tennis courts, splash pads and swimming pools that are owned by a municipality, the province or a post secondary education institution)
  • smoke on all bar and restaurant patios, whether covered or not (with an exemption for uncovered patios established by the Royal Canadian Legion – Ontario Provincial Command before November 18, 2013)
  • sell tobacco on university and college campuses (this applies to buildings that are owned and areas that are leased by a post secondary institution or student union)

For more information on smoke-free initiatives, please visit the County of Oxford website.

Representatives from the Oxford County Board of Health visited our Council meeting on June 2, 2015 to talk about the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.  View their presentation here.