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Living in a Community

There are rules to keep our communities and public places safe and enjoyable for everyone. These rules can vary from community to community. If you need information about the rules in your community, contact the local government office. In a city this will be City Hall. In a rural area it will be the office of the Rural Municipality.

There is ice and packed snow on our sidewalk. Are there rules about snow removal?

Yes. Most communities require people living in a place to remove snow from their walkways. This includes removing snow on the city sidewalk in front of their house. In most communities you are not allowed to move snow from your yard to the street or road. Ice should be sprinkled with salt, sand or an ice remover to soften it and then it should be removed. Depending on the situation, you could be fined for not removing snow. Letter carriers can refuse to deliver mail if your sidewalk is not clear.

We are renting a house. Are we responsible for shovelling snow or is the landlord?

Usually people who rent a house are responsible for snow removal. In places like apartment buildings, where outdoor spaces are used by all tenants, the landlord is usually responsible for snow removal.

Where can I smoke?

In Saskatchewan, you cannot smoke in or around public buildings. This includes close to the entrance or air intake. Smoking is not allowed on school grounds or in cars, if there is anyone under the age of 16 in the car. Different communities may have additional rules. For example, in Saskatoon smoking is also not allowed in parks, sports fields, public squares and recreation areas. In most cases there will be no-smoking signs posted so you will know where you are not allowed to smoke.

How old do I have to be to smoke?

You must be at least 18 years old to purchase cigarettes or other tobacco products.

Are there rules about pets?

There are rules that require owners to properly take care of their pets and to not abuse them. This means making sure that they have food, water, exercise, veterinary appointments etc. Hurting a pet is against the law. Most communities require pets to be on leashes. You may be required to buy a licence for your pet. In some communities there are off-leash areas for dogs and owners to use. You must pick up after your pet if they defecate when they are out of your yard. Even in your own yard, pet waste cannot be allowed to accumulate to the point of a nuisance.

There are also rules about the kinds of animals that can be kept as pets. Typically keeping exotic animals such as monkeys and crocodiles or bats is not allowed. You must make sure your pet does not become a nuisance to your neighbours by, for example, keeping them awake at night with barking.

Where can I drink alcohol?

You can drink in a licensed bar or restaurant. You cannot drink in other public places. You can drink alcohol in your own home, in a hotel room or a private place such as a cabin or a tent. Drinking may not be allowed in some campgrounds at certain times, for example during a holiday long weekend. It is against the law to have or to drink alcohol in a car unless you are just travelling with it to a place where you can drink. It is against the law to be intoxicated in a public place.

How old do I have to be to drink alcohol?

In Saskatchewan you must be 19 to drink in a licensed bar or restaurant. You must also be 19 to purchase alcohol. It is against the law to give alcohol to someone under 19. However, parents can give their children alcohol in a private place, such as their home.

My neighbours play loud music at night and I cannot sleep. Is there anything I can do about this?

Most communities have rules about noise. Unreasonably loud or excessive noise that disturbs others is not generally allowed. Things like the time of day, the volume, how long the noise went on for and what caused the noise are considered. As well, routine activities that might disturb people are often not allowed during set periods of time. For example, mowing the lawn may not be allowed after 10 pm or before 7am.

A good first step is to talk to your neighbours and see if you can find a solution. If that does not help you should call the local government office in your community (in a city this would be City Hall). Ask about the rules and how they can be enforced. If you live in a rented place you should also tell your landlord.

Is burning trash allowed?

If you live in a city there are usually rules about burning. These rules limit the size and type of container you can burn in, as well as what can be burnt. Often it is restricted to wood or charcoal. Rules may be different if you live in a rural area.

Cities and larger centres provide garbage collection. If you live in a house you will have your own container. Apartments usually have one larger container that everyone shares. There will be rules about what you can put in the garbage. For example, old furniture or branches may not be allowed. There may be other rules too, such as rules that require all trash to be bagged. Check with your municipal office or City Hall to learn more about the rules in your community.

Our neighbours say they are going to report us because we have weeds on our property. We have more weeds than they do because we do not use chemicals. Can they control how we look after our own yard?

Communities usually have rules about yards. Although there may rules about weeds, these usually only apply to weeds or grass that is overgrown. Often there is a maximum height that lawns or weeds must be under. Things like garbage and abandoned vehicles may not be allowed. If your neighbour is using pesticides they are responsible for making sure they are properly applied, stored and disposed.

Can I cut through my neighbour’s yard?

You need permission to go onto someone’s property. This does not mean that you cannot walk up their path to ring the doorbell or return an item. Otherwise, you should only be in their yard if they have said that you can be.

Published on October 21, 2016.

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