Council to decide on new Administrative Monetary Penalties

The entrance in Council Chambers inside Kingston City Hall. Kingstonist file photo.

A report scheduled to come before Kingston City Council will seek to have councillors agree to extending the use of Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) to three City of Kingston bylaws.

The report, which is coming from the Administrative Policies Committee, will be received by Council at their meeting on the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023. It brings to Council for approval a list of tax write-offs “pursuant to the Municipal Act,” as well as additional AMPs which are currently not in place.

AMPs, essentially, are fines laid against those who violate City bylaws. While AMPs are perhaps most commonly referred to in association with the Nuisance Party Bylaw that aligns with the University District Safety Initiative, there are, in fact, dozens of AMPs already in place in Kingston. These include AMPs connected with animal regulations bylaws (such as the registration of cats or dogs with the City’s pet registration program) and waste disposal bylaws (such as when residents and businesses can or cannot put their garbage and/or recycling at the roadside in relation to their specified pickup times).

The new AMPs coming to Council on Tuesday were first decided on by the Administrative Policies Committee at its meeting on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023. At that meeting, the Committee received a 40-page report on the approval of additional AMPs from Paige Agnew, the City’s Commissioner of Growth and Development Services, and Curtis Smith, the Director of Licensing and Enforcement for the City of Kingston. The summary of that report includes a concise explanation of AMPs and their purposes, which reads:

“The Municipal Act provides a municipality [with] the authority to require a person to pay an administrative monetary penalty (AMP) if the municipality is satisfied that the person has failed to comply with a bylaw. AMPs are an effective tool for responding to nuisance behaviour and are a tangible intermediate response to bylaw violations. The AMP process is managed entirely by the City, including a review and appeal process, which helps to alleviate the burden of Provincial Offences Act (POA) charges on the court system and staff resourcing.”

In the report to the Administrative Policies Committee, City staff recommended that “the application of AMPs be extended to three additional City bylaws.”

“The expanded use of AMPs will help deter nuisance behaviours, protect the health and safety of City staff and residents, give Bylaw Enforcement officers an additional, intermediate level response to [non-complaint] behaviour, and protect City infrastructure from damage,” that report reads.

The report coming to Council recommends essentially the same thing. The new AMPs will be extended to the following bylaws, pending Council approval:

  • Bylaw 2021-10, “A Bylaw to License and Regulate Short-term Rentals in the City of Kingston”
  • Bylaw 2004-190, “A Bylaw to Regulate the Use of City Streets”
  • Bylaw 2005-100, “A Bylaw for Prescribing Standards For The Maintenance And Occupancy Of Property Within The City of Kingston”

Kingstonist has gone through both the report to the Administrative Policies Committee and the subsequent report to Council to outline the new AMPs as clearly as possible in advance of the Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023, meeting of Council. Those details are broken down by their relevant bylaws as follows.

Bylaw regulating short-term rentals

The City of Kingston enacted this bylaw in 2020, as the rising number of short-term rentals — such as Airbnb locations — raised concerns about the City’s ability to regulate those processes and the actions of those renting property through them.

“The proposed recommended AMPs are to encourage short-term rental operators to obtain a licence, to provide appropriate information to ensure the safety of short-term rental users, and to reduce potential nuisance situations in neighbourhoods where short-term rentals are located. As there are already POA Set Fines established for these offences, the creation of AMPs provides an additional, less time-consuming, and [less] invasive mechanism to promote compliance with the by-law,” Commissioner Agnew wrote in the report to the Administrative Policies Committee.

“The range of penalties for the recommended AMPs is $125 to $500.”

As per the reports to the Administrative Policies Committee and Council, City of Kingston staff are proposing that AMPs (with the bracketed financial penalties) be associated with that bylaw for:

  • marketing or operating a short-term rental without a licence ($125 for marketing, $250 for operating)
  • knowingly submitting an application for a short-term rental licence that contains false, misleading, or deceptive information ($125)
  • failing to adhere to (or to ensure guests comply with) parking regulations contained in the Parking ByLaw ($125)
  • permitting a short-term rental in a dwelling unit in combination with a bed and breakfast accommodation ($125)
  • failing to provide guests with emergency contact information for the short-term rental ($125)
  • failing to post licence in a prominent location in a short-term rental ($125)
  • failing to include licence number in marketing material for short-term rental ($125)
  • obstructing an officer in relation to the short-term rental bylaw ($500)
  • failing to comply with an order under the short-term rental bylaw ($375)

Bylaw regulating the use of City streets

Enacted in 2004, this bylaw alone is 27 pages long and outlines acceptable and unacceptable use of City roads. The bylaw itself includes policies around temporarily closing roads, sidewalks, and walkways; snow and ice removal; etc.

It should be noted that all City of Kingston documents use the term “highway” when referring to any road within the City.

“The proposed recommended AMPs are to promote the safety of highways and to promote compliance with the City’s Streets By-Law. As there are already POA Set Fines established for these offences, the creation of AMPs provides an additional, less time-consuming, and [less] invasive mechanism to resolve compliance issues,” Agnew wrote in her report to the Administrative Policies Committee.

“The penalty for [all of] the recommended AMPs is $180.”

As per the reports to the Administrative Policies Committee and Council, City of Kingston staff are proposing that AMPs (with the bracketed financial penalties) be associated with that bylaw for:

  • blocking or obstructing a highway ($180)
  • depositing leaves or brush on a highway ($180)
  • polluting or fouling a highway ($180)
  • climbing a utility pole, light standard, or tree on a highway ($180)
  • depositing snow or ice on a roadway ($180)
  • failing to prevent or eliminate slippery conditions on a sidewalk ($180)
  • attaching a poster, advertisement, or document to a pole, tree, or other object on a highway ($180)

Bylaw regulating standards for maintenance and occupancy of property within the City of Kingston

First enacted in 2005, this bylaw has 34 pages specifically “prescribing” the City’s standards around the maintenance and use of property within the City boundaries. These range from general standards for all buildings (such as the doors and windows used, instances of graffiti, the use of signage, roofing standards, and provisions around the upkeep of yards) to standards for residential properties, non-residential properties, and designated Heritage Properties, including yard upkeep and maintenance, pest control, and garbage disposal.

There is only one AMP proposed in relation to this bylaw.

“The proposed recommended AMP is meant to promote compliance with enforcement actions taken under the Property Standards By-Law, actions which are ultimately meant to promote the maintenance, health, and safety of properties within the City of Kingston. The creation of these AMPs provides an additional, less time-consuming, and [less] invasive mechanism to promote compliance with the by-law,” Agnew wrote in the report to the Administrative Policies Committee.

“The penalty for the recommended AMP is $500,” the report continues, noting that similar AMPs exist in other Ontario municipalities, including Vaughan ($500), London ($400), Newmarket ($200-450), and Cornwall ($150-500).

As per the reports to the Administrative Policies Committee and Council, City of Kingston staff are proposing that the AMP (with the bracketed financial penalty) be associated with that bylaw for:

  • failing to comply with an order under the Property Standards bylaw ($500)

A full list of all AMPs existing and enforced within the City of Kingston is available in the report.

As always, the full agenda for the upcoming regular meeting of Kingston City Council is available on the City of Kingston website. The Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023, meeting of Council will begin at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers of City Hall. The public is welcome to attend. Alternatively, the meeting can be streamed live (or watched afterward) on the Kingston City Council YouTube channel.

One thought on “Council to decide on new Administrative Monetary Penalties

  • Trivial but……
    I thought the city was responsible for clearing snow/ice from city sidewalks. When they are 3 days late are they fined?

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