Course Description

This online course is 36 learning hours over twelve weeks. It is recommended that students spend a minimum of 3 hours each week on course work. Students may choose to complete more hours of work on the course in order to explore the content in more depth. 

Municipal Law provides an introduction to the law affecting municipalities. The source and extent of municipal authority are examined, as well as the limitations placed on municipal powers by the constitution and the common law.  Topics addressed include the election and operation of council; drafting, enacting and enforcing bylaws; reasons for bylaw invalidity; municipal contracts and tendering; and municipal liability.

Course Outline

Module 1

This module begins with an introduction to the law. The influence of the Canadian constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms on municipalities will also be discussed.

Module 2

This module discusses the definition and purpose of local government, the municipality as a corporation, and the legislation governing the internal structure of the municipal corporation.

Module 3

This module provides an overview of the legislation that gives authority to municipalities. The module also examines how courts have interpreted that legislation and defined the scope of the powers conferred by the legislation. 

Module 4

This module will examine the basic principles related to municipal bylaws, as well as the processes for enacting and amending bylaws. Finally, we will review methods and procedures related to bylaw enforcement.

Module 5

This module will examine contract law, emphasizing aspects that are of particular interest to municipalities. As municipalities frequently engage in tendering and, as contract law governs tendering, we will also look closely at the tendering process.

Module 6

This module examines municipal liability. It considers the scope of immunity offered to municipalities by the common law and statute, and offers some practical suggestions on how to manage risk.

What You Will Learn

  • Describe the sources of Canadian law and explain how they interrelate
  • Analyze the unique challenges facing municipalities in enforcing their bylaws
  • Discuss how municipalities purchase goods and services, and identify and discuss procedural requirements that may be imposed on them in this regard
  • Describe the circumstances under which the councilors, officers, and employees of a municipality may be personally liable
  • Propose strategies for managing a municipality’s risk of liability


The Faculty of OLCD recommends an intermediate level of English language proficiency for the most effective learning and participation in our online and face-to-face courses. A list of minimum recommended scores on some common English tests can be found on our website. If you have questions about your English language proficiency and ability to succeed in this course, please contact openlearning@dal.ca.

Recommended For

  • Municipal clerks and those working in corporate services
  • Public sector professionals interested in advancing their career
  • Procurement and other contract specialists
Enrol Now - Select a section to enrol in
Section Title
Municipal Law I
Online - Self-Paced
Jan 05, 2024 to Mar 29, 2024
Total Learning Hours
Instruction Delivery Method(s)
Course Fee(s)
Tuition Fee non-credit $1,045.00
Required Software
Students will require a webcam and microphone to participate in live sessions.
Section Notes

Note: We are closed from December 25, 2023 to January 1, 2024 inclusive. Access credentials to the course site in Brightspace may be delayed for those who enrol during this time period. 

This course has scheduled written assignments and discussions within the term time frame. The syllabus will be available on the course site. The course site on Brightspace will be available by 4:00 PM AT on the course start date.

Students who are unable to attend live sessions will be able to view a recorded version. Days and times of scheduled meetings will be announced at a future date.

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