May 08, 2019

Legislation Ensuring Fair Balance On Trespass Rules Move Forward

The Government of Saskatchewan is passing legislation that better balances the rights of rural land owners and members of the public.  The Trespass to Property Amendment Act, 2018 and The Trespass to Property Consequential Amendments Act, 2018 received third reading today.

This legislation clarifies existing laws and ensures consistency in the rules regarding trespassing.  Most notably, it moves the onus of responsibility from rural land owners to individuals seeking to access their property.  The legislation will come into force after the necessary regulations are developed.

“This legislation strikes the right balance between rural land owners and those wishing to access rural property for recreational purposes,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan said.  “We believe this legislation will promote communication with rural land owners, while still giving Saskatchewan people the opportunity to take advantage of our beautiful rural landscapes for outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, snowmobiling and hiking.”

Under the previous legislation, responsibility rested primarily with the land owner to post their land if they wanted to limit public access.  Under the new legislation, those wishing to access a rural land owner’s property for recreational purposes will need to first gain access from the land owner.  Land owners will be able to provide consent for activities, like berry-picking and hunting, on their land through posted signs.

The requirement for improved communication will help ensure that land owners and occupiers are aware of the presence of others on their property.  The legislation also provides legal protection to land owners and occupiers against property damage and the risk of agricultural diseases, and limits any liability that may arise from a trespasser’s presence on their property.

Innovation Saskatchewan is working with the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities to develop a technological solution to promote contact between land owners and those seeking access to private property.  The Innovation Challenge is underway and will select a successful applicant to develop their solution over a 16-week residency period.