You can search within titles or text of by-laws using one or more keywords separated by spaces. Each keyword should be a complete word, not part of a word. By default, the search engine will search for by-laws that contain one of your keywords (the equivalent of an "OR" query.) To search for all keywords (the equivalent of an "AND" query) or an exact phrase, select the “all words” or "exact match" option in the search form.
The search engine ignores queries such as "AND," "OR," "+," and "-" before or between keywords in a search term. They are treated as words or characters.
For example, if you enter "parks and pools," the search engine will search for these three words, not the words "parks" and "pools."
Exclusion of common words
The search engine ignores common words (such as a, the, of, with, you, etc., in English or le, la, les, du, avec, vous, etc., in French) as well as single digits and single letters. In some cases, these terms can be used as part of an exact match search.
Word variations (stemming)
The search engine does not use stemming (searching for the root or stem of a word, such as "go" for "goes" or "child" for "children") or joker/wildcard queries (using the symbols “ *,” “%,” or “ _ “ in place of a term). The search engine searches for the exact keyword that you enter. For example, if you enter the word "dog," the search engine will not search for the word "dogs.”
If you can’t find the by-law you’re looking for, try your search again with the plural or singular form of the word. You can also enter the singular and plural forms of the keyword, such as “dog” and “dogs,” without selecting the “All words” or “Exact match” options.
Accents and capitalization
The search engine ignores accents and capitalization. Whether you search for "Montreal," "MONTREAL" or "Montréal," you will get the same results.
The search engine ignores special characters such as question marks (?), exclamation points (!) and the at sign (@).
To search for an exact phrase, such as "recycling pickup," simply enter the phrase in the search field and select the option Exact Match. Do not put the phrase in quotation marks.
For this type of search, common words (as explained in the "Exclusion of common words" section) are included in the search, but may be replaced by other common words in the same place in the phrase. For example, a search for the phrase “cats and dogs" may display results for by-laws that contain phrases such as "cats or dogs.”
The indexes of by-law texts and titles are updated regularly during the city’s office hours. From time to time, they are reorganized. However, the city cannot guarantee exactly when the index may be updated or changed.
A search performed at an earlier time may return different results after an index has been updated.
Online by-laws with images
Online by-laws in PDF format are the basis for the text index. Most PDF documents are plain text. However, certain documents, such as very old by-laws, are hard copies that were scanned into the system. These documents cannot be indexed, and thus cannot be accessed by text search.
So, instead of doing a text search for these by-laws, you can search by title or use the other search criteria, such as the by-law number, jurisdiction, date the by-law came into force, etc.).