Municipal bylaws that lay out fines for swearing, yelling, spitting and gathering of groups of three or more people are common in Alberta and not isolated to the Town of Taber.
While Taber recently passed a bylaw banning these actions, Red Deer has had a similar law on the books since 2007. As have Sylvan Lake, Lacombe, Rocky Mountain House and Innisfail. The Town of Olds has a similar community standards bylaw in front of its town council.
Passed on Feb. 12, 2007, Red Deer’s community standards bylaw outlines fines for such offences as yelling, screaming or swearing; spitting; being a member of an assembly and failing to disperse as requested by peace officer; bullying and breaching curfew.
Located near Lethbridge, the small Town of Taber made headlines this week for a bylaw approved on March 5 that bans swearing, spitting and the assembly of three or more people in a public place.
The bylaw has many similar measures to one Red Deer passed more than eight years ago.
For Red Deer fines range from $75 for a first offence of spitting to $10,000 for a drinking establishment making noise on the third and subsequent offences.
Offences such as swearing, yelling or screaming in public in Red Deer can lead to a fine of $150 for the first offence, $250 for the second offence within the same year or $500 for the third and subsequent offences within the same year.
Peace officers, inspections and licensing manager, or a compliance officer can also ask groups of three or more persons to disperse where they have “reasonable grounds to believe the assembly will disturb the peace.” Subsequent fines range from $250 for the first offence to $750 for the third offence in the same year.
The bylaw also provides fines and rules around panhandling, loitering, fighting, urinating, littering, car repairs in a public place, graffiti and making noise. Innisfail’s similar bylaw was passed in 2010. Sylvan Lake and Rocky Mountain House passed theirs in 2012. Lacombe passed theirs in 2013.
Olds’s community standards bylaw is in the draft stage now.