By-law Services, in the Community Safety and Enforcement Department, is located at the City of Port Colborne's Fire Hall - 3 Killaly Street West. Staff will be able to assist you with your By-law concerns.

By-law complaints can also be registered through our website by clicking the button below.

Note: anonymous complaints are no longer being received. The name, address, and contact information of the complainant is a requirement on the By-law complaint form. 

Register a By-law Complaint 

If the By-law you are looking for is not listed on this webpage, please contact the Legislative Assistant for the Clerk’s Division.

 What is a By-law?
A By-law is a law passed by a municipality reflecting council’s desired quality of life within the community. It has effect only within that municipality.

View Frequently Requested By-laws

 By-law enforcement

In the City of Port Colborne, Municipal Law Enforcement Officers are responsible for the administration of by-laws in combination with the following:

  • Community and Economic Development Department
  • Planning and Development Department
  • Building Division
  • Port Colborne Fire & Emergency Services
  • Niagara Regional Police 
  • Region of Niagara
  • Province of Ontario

Municipal Law Enforcement Officers are trained and accredited by the Province. They benefit from backgrounds that cover extensive law enforcement responsibilities. Under the direction of City Council, officers strive to protect the city’s persons and properties through its by-laws either by obtaining compliance or initiating legal proceedings.

 By-law infractions

Upon receipt of a formal complaint, a subsequent file will be opened and placed into the queue for officer review and inspection. Under the Municipal By-law Enforcement Policy adopted by Council of the City of Port Colborne, all new complaints will be prioritized under a model that reviews the following criteria: 

  1. Health and safety factors;
  2. Potential property damage;
  3. Potential impact on the complainant;
  4. Potential impact on the neighbourhood;
  5. Available resources; and
  6. History of complaints in respect of the same matter.

Based on the above, all new complaints will be reviewed and addressed as timely as possible. 

As part of the inspection, officers will attempt to obtain cooperation compliance by bringing the violation to the attention of the individual(s)/owner(s). A period or periods of time may be given for compliance before legal proceedings are initiated. 

 Legal proceedings

 When an officer is satisfied and believes the only way to deal with a situation is to initial legal proceedings, he or she may choose one or a combination of the following options: 

  1. Lay a charge
  2. Issue or obtain an order
  3. Have the work performed by the municipality

If the work is performed by the municipality, the costs will be applied to the homeowner’s municipal tax bill. Once a charge is laid, the defendant may choose a plea of not guilty and a trail date set.

 Can I change a By-law?
You can apply to change a by-law through the Council of the City of Port Colborne through the Municipal Clerks office at (905) 228-8031. If your application is denied you can appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board. Its decision is final.
Discharge of Firearms By-law (Hunting)

Individuals must have a lawful reason for discharging a firearm. Common reasons may include hunting, sport shooting or target practice. This must be in areas that do not prohibit the discharge of a firearm within the City of Port Colborne. See Maps.

It is illegal to discharge a firearm for malicious purposes or in a manner that endangers the public or property. Please contact the Niagara Regional Police Services at 911 if it is an emergency or NRPS non-emergency at 905-688-4111. Alternatively, you may also contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry at 1-877-TIPS-MNR (1-877-847-7667) or 905-562-4147 (Vineland Office).

 Encroachment By-law

A by-law that provides guidelines and requirements regarding encroachments on municipal property. If you are a business owner looking to set up a pop-up patio, please see our Pop-up Patio and Information Guide.

Please see our Encroachment By-law Application Form for other encroachments such as signs, benches, ramps, etc. 

For more information on encroachment applications, please contact the Economic Development Officer at (905) 228-8063.

 Fence By-law

All fences, hedges, garden walling, retaining walls natural and non-natural barriers, erected, constructed or grown shall be solely contained within the limits of the owner and/or owners’ property including all foundations and footings. 

Fence locationHeight limit
Front yard  1 metre
Interior side yard  2 metres
Exterior side yard  1 metre (adjacent to road)
Rear yard  2 metres
Sight triangle 0.75 metres
Parallel to driveway  1 metre with 50% visibility

You do not require a permit to build a fence. However, you must adhere to prescribed height and property line restrictions. The by-law includes definitions of material restrictions and penalties for non-compliance. Please note, there is not good side or bad side of a fence under our by-law.

If you are looking for temporary relief from our Fence By-law based on certain circumstances, please see our Application for Relief from Fence By-law Application

A business licence is required to carry on many kinds of business or trades within the city. If you plan to open a business, you must apply to the municipality, describe the kind of business and where it will be. Staff of the Planning, Building and Fire Departments will review the application before a final decision is made. Please contact the Licensing Clerk at (905) 228-8115.
 Lot Maintenance By-law

A by-law that provides that a municipality may require the owner or occupant of land to clean and clear the land. All properties are required to keep clean and free of:

  • Rubbish, debris, objects or conditions that might create a health, fire or accident hazard
  • Wrecked, dismantled, discarded or abandoned machinery, vehicles, trailers or boats
  • Vehicles unlicensed for the current year and not properly enclosed and protected
  • Long grass, bush, undergrowth and noxious weeds as defined in the Weed Control Act as amended
  • Dead, decayed or damaged trees or other natural growth
  • All garbage shall be placed in containers with tight fitting covers

Weed season starts in early May and continues until the first frost, usually in October. All noxious weeds must be cut and/or destroyed throughout weed season.

If you are looking for guidance on how to properly dispose of your unused/discarded items, see information relating to Garbage and Recycling for further assistance. 

 Nuisance/Noise By-law

A by-law that address complaints from the general public. Examples include barking dogs, loud music or construction equipment outside of allowable hours.

If you are looking for temporary relief from our Noise By-law for a certain event, please see our Request for Relief from Noise By-law Application Form.


A by-law that manages and enforces municipal parking. Prohibited and Permit parking is identified by municipal signage, particularly when it comes to disabled parking. However, some parking prohibitions do not require signage. For example, vehicles cannot park so they are obstructing driveways, fire routes, fire hydrants or sidewalks. In the case of temporary parking restrictions, including parking interfering with snow removal, you can find this information in the local newspaper, under latest news on the City web page or you can subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates.

If you have received a parking ticket, see our detailed information relating to parking for further assistance.

 Property Standards By-law

A by-law that prescribes standards for the maintenance and occupancy of property within the municipality. Buildings are required to be structurally sound and their components are required to be in good repair and protected against deterioration.

If you are a Tenant and wish to register a complaint under our Property Standards By-law, our Compliance Request Form must be completed. 

 Sign By-law

A by-law that prohibits or regulates signs, advertising devices and the posting of notices on buildings or vacant lots within the city. The by-law regulates in detail the erection, location, construction, alteration, repair, use and maintenance of all signs and advertising devices.

If you are looking for temporary relief from our Sign By-law, please see our Request for Relief from Sign By-law Application Form.

For more information on signs, please contact the Building Clerk at (905) 228-8113.

 Site Alteration By-law 

A by-law that regulates or prohibits the removal of topsoil the placing or dumping of fill and the alteration of the grade of land unless a Permit is issued. Please see our Site Alteration Application Form with applicable fee schedule attached.

For more information on site alteration, please contact the Planning Division at (905) 228-8132.

 Snow and Ice

All snow and ice shall be removed from the sidewalks adjacent to your property 48 hours after snowfall endsRead the Boulevard & Snow Removal By-law. Failure to do so may result in potential fines being issued. The city also enforces on-street parking infractions during winter snow removal. If your vehicle is parked on the street causing an inference with snow removal, a ticket will be issued along with a tow notice (purple tag). Towing can occur anywhere between 1 to 24 hours after notice has been issued. Your cooperation and assistance during winter snow removal is appreciated.

 Swimming Pool By-law

A by-law that regulates the location of privately owned swimming pools including accessory equipment including the location, fencing/gates, pumps, plumbing, wiring, potable water and permit fees.

If you are looking for temporary relief from our Swimming Pool By-law, please see our Request for Relief from Pool By-law Application Form.

 Tree By-law

A by-law that regulates the maintenance, protection, preservation and removal of all City Trees. The by-law also includes information regarding trimming and removing of adjacent trees.

If you wish to have a City tree removed, please complete and submit our Application for Tree Removal.

If you wish to have an adjacent tree designated and removed, please complete and submit our Notice of Designation for removal of Adjacent Tree.

For more information on City and/or adjacent trees, please contact Public Works at (905) 228-8136 or (905) 228-8024.


A by-law that divides a municipality into specific areas or zones, defines how land in each zone can be used whether for industrial, commercial, residential or other uses. It describes what times of uses are permitted on the property. For example, the height and size of a building and how far it must be from other buildings and the edge of the property.

For any zoning inquiries, contact the Planning Division at (905) 228-8124.