Urban bylaws, legislation, and planning resources

Legal resources

Book and reports

British Columbia building code, 2018 [online] and 2012 [print]
"Applies to the construction of buildings; including extensions, substantial alterations, buildings undergoing a change of occupancy, green building specifications, and upgrading of buildings to remove an unacceptable hazard."

Vancouver Building By-law 2019
"identifies the minimum standard in the City of Vancouver for buildings"

The building access handbook 2014
building requirements for persons with disabilities from British Columbia Building Code 2012 including illustrations and commentary

British Columbia fire code, 2018 [online] and 2012 [print]
Objectives: Safety, health, and  fire protection of buildings and facilities

British Columbia plumbing code, 2018 [online] and 2012 [print]
Objectives: Safety, health,  protection of buildings and facilities from water and sewage damage, and environment

See also:  Locating standards at the SFU Library and at other libraries

Canadian law of planning and zoning [print]
Older, but "the only Canadian text comprehensively treating all aspects of the municipal regulation of land use, covering cases and legislation in every Canadian province."

Canadian municipal and planning law [print]
"Includes bibliographical references and index."

Public interest, private property: law and planning policy in Canada [online] and [print]
"Case studies focus on spheres in which public values and private property rights collide--expropriation law, natural resources regulation, green development, and water provision--laying the groundwork for more active debates on the issues currently shaping our cities."

Assessment of the Municipal Acts of the Provinces And Territories Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Westlaw Next Canada
Current Canadian legal information, including cases, legislation, and law reports

Finding legislation (i.e. municipal acts):

  1. On the homepage, click on Statutes and Regulations
  2. Select province
  3. Click on Statutes
  4. Type Municipal Act into the search or scroll to M

** Note: Some cities, such as Calgary, Montreal and St. John's, have their own municipal statutes.

General Note:
Governing bodies enact statutes (statutes enacted by municipalities are called ordinances). Regulations put the statutes to work. 

Finding summaries of cases, by legal issue:

  1. On the homepage, click on Canadian Abridgment Digests
  2. Choose an area of focus  (such as Municipal or Construction or Transportation)
  3.  Click on a subheading to see related cases

Finding legal articles and newsletters:

Stay up to date with current issues surrounding planning legislation.

  1. On the homepage, click on Articles and Newsletters
  2. Click on Municipal and Planning Law Reports (or use catalogue link here)

Finding cases and decisions:

Stay up to date with current legal decisions:

  1. On the homepage, click on Cases and Decisions
  2. Click on Municipal and then jurisdiction (e.g. British Columbia)

For more information please see the guides Finding legal cases by topic and How to find legal cases by citation

Current planning and bylaws

Municipal bylaws

Abbotsford Anmore Belcarra Bowen Island 
Burnaby Coquitlam Delta Langley (City)
Langley (Township) Lions Bay Maple Ridge New Westminster
North Vancouver (City) North Vancouver (District) Pitt Meadows Port Coquitlam
Port Moody Richmond Surrey Vancouver
West Vancouver Tsawwassen First Nation Laws     

Vancouver zoning and planning


Metro Vancouver

Historical planning

Books and reports

Rawn report: Sewerage and drainage of the Greater Vancouver area, British Columbia [print, and 1970 consolidation print]
1953 Master plan of the sewage system, including the enclosure of creeks, and "apportionment of costs"

Historical data, Vancouver Town Planning Commission [print]
Dates back to plans existing prior to 1963.

Out of print and contract publications [print]
Dates back to contracts existing prior to 1963.

West End: planning policies and design guidelines [print]
"For reference only: does not form part of the zoning by-law or official development plan."

The Vancouver City Planning Commission: some historical notes [print]
Notes made to plans prior to 1975.

City of Vancouver sites unless otherwise indicated:

Other resources:

Journal article databases

Historical Abstracts
Sample terms: Urban planning; History of urban planning

America: History and Life
For US and Canadian cities. Sample terms: Urban planning, Urban planners

Art Index
Sample terms: Urban planning; Grid plan (Urban planning); History of urban planning; Public spaces