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Out with the old

Council considers repealing outdated bylaws
City council meeting in Whitehorse on Feb. 8. At Whitehorse city council’s March 1 meeting, members were presented with a bylaw that would repeal 10 bylaws deemed to be redundant or out of date. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

The City of Whitehorse could soon turf a bylaw that limited sports, movies, theatre and more from happening on Sundays in the city.

At Whitehorse city council’s March 1 meeting, members were presented with a bylaw that would repeal 10 bylaws deemed to be redundant or out of date.

Among them is the Lord’s Day Permits Bylaw, a document passed in 1962 that “restricted the playing of public sports, games, movies, theatrical performances, concerts and lectures on Sundays.”

As legislative services policy analyst Will Schen told council in his report on the proposed repeal of outdated bylaws, the bylaw that set restrictions to Sunday activities was based on the territory’s Lord’s Day Ordinance, which is no longer in effect.

“This bylaw could also be in violation of sections 2(a) and 15(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” it was noted in Schen’s report.

Those sections of the charter deal with freedom of religion and the right to equal protections and benefits without discrimination based on race, ethnicity, colour, religion, sex and age, nor mental and physical disability.

Other bylaws proposed for repeal include the committees to assist the mayor bylaw of 1958, the hotel and rooming house bylaw of 1966, the public health bylaw of 1975, trailer registration bylaw of 1979, zoning appeals board bylaw of 1976, neighbourhood improvement bylaw of 1980, the road cut bylaw of 1981, the parks and recreation fees and charges bylaw of 1997, and the planning study bylaw of 2006.

In many cases the older bylaws have become redundant with other legislation adopted that incorporates the content of the bylaws.

The city’s current zoning bylaw, for example, covers the appeal process for zoning decisions that was originally set out in the zoning appeals board bylaw, while the registration of trailers that was covered under the trailer registration bylaw are now covered through the territory’s Motor Vehicles Act.

The neighbourhood improvement bylaw is noted as a document that could be used for future bylaws that provide incentive grants. The improvement grants were limited to 10 per cent of the purchase price of materials for the work, up to a maximum of $500.

As Schen stated in his report: “Some of the clauses in this bylaw could be used in the drafting of a future bylaw, possibly incorporating incentives for Fire Smart renovations related to the Wildfire Risk Reduction Strategy.”

While council members took no issue with potentially repealing the bylaws, they noted their thanks to Schen with Coun. Samson Hartland describing it as “quite a house cleaning” and Coun. Laura Cabott noting the tediousness of such work for staff.

Cabott also said she’s looking forward to implementation of the Wildfire Risk Reduction Strategy and possibilities for Fire Smart work to be done.

Council will vote on whether to move forward with the repeal of the older bylaws March 8.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Stephanie Waddell

About the Author: Stephanie Waddell

I joined Black Press in 2019 as a reporter for the Yukon News, becoming editor in February 2023.
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