The Cariboo Regional District does not have the resources to formally review properties on a regular basis to determine whether or not its various bylaws are being complied with at all times. Therefore, except for inspections arising from a building permit, it is the policy of the Cariboo Regional District to rely on citizen complaints as a means of enforcing these bylaws. In order to encourage only valid complaints and to reduce the opportunity for intimidation and neighborhood conflict, the CRD established a policy with a balance of accountability and confidentiality. The following policies apply regarding bylaw enforcement procedures:
- To be considered valid by the CRD, a complaint shall be in writing and shall contain the name, address and phone number of the complainant and shall describe the nature and location of the alleged infraction. This policy does not preclude staff of the CRD identifying and conducting investigations on their own initiative.
- It is not necessary for complainants to request confidentiality because the identity of the complainant and the written complaint itself shall not be disclosed to the alleged violator or any member of the public. Likewise, the response of the alleged violator shall not be disclosed to the complainant, whether it is in writing or made orally. This policy is in recognition of the fact that many complaints take place in the context of other disputes between neighbors and the motivation for the complaint itself may be retribution. Disclosure could serve to exacerbate the dispute and may even put persons at risk of harm.
- Upon receipt of a valid complaint, the CRD will initiate an investigation. Should an infraction be suspected, the Bylaw Enforcement Officer will consider matters like the scale, number and duration of the infraction(s); the current short and long term impacts caused by the infraction; the potential for precedents; and the resources available to resolve the matter. It will not be the policy of the CRD to necessarily seek a legal remedy for all alleged infractions.
- The anonymity and confidentiality given to complainants and alleged violators under this policy cannot be assured if an investigations results in court proceedings.
- If persons request that the Cariboo Regional District disclose personal information about them in complaints and responses to the complaints under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the CRD policy is to refuse disclosure under Section 15 of the Act, unless consent is obtained from the person who supplied the information. The CRD, however, is subject to orders issued by the Information and Privacy Commissioner under the Act and will not necessarily appeal an order for disclosure.