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OMAFRA hosting farm trespass webinars

OMAFRA hosting farm trespass webinars

The presentations will focus on legislation passed in 2020

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) is hosting two webinars in the coming weeks to help farmers understand trespass legislation passed in 2020.

The webinars on Jan. 30 (2:30-3:30 p.m.) and Feb. 3 (11:00-12:00 p.m.) will focus on the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act.

Specifically, OMAFRA reps will discuss a factsheet the ministry developed for farmers. The factsheet outlines the rules for ensuring the safety of farm animals and agri-food businesses from trespassers.

Exemptions, including Aboriginal and treaty tights, will also be part of the presentations.

For example, while the Act does provide arrest powers as a last resort, a person cannot be arrested if they are lawfully exercising Aboriginal or treaty rights on private property, the OMAFRA sheet says.

The Ontario government first introduced the farm trespass protection legislation in December 2019 following months of discussions with stakeholders.

Ernie Hardeman, then Ontario’s ag minister, told “we need to have a plan to make sure we protect the whole food chain and the people in it.”

The bill received royal assent in June 2020 and came into force that December.

Anyone interested in participating in the upcoming webinars are asked to email by Jan. 26.

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