A repeat offender can be fined up to $25,000 and spend six months in prison
By Diego Flammini
The Saskatchewan government is strengthening penalties for people who continue to trespass on private property.
Starting on Jan. 1, 2022, changes to The Trespass to Property Amendment Act will increase the maximum penalty to $25,000 for repeat offenders who trespass on the same property. The new changes also add six months imprisonment as a possible punishment.
In addition, corporations who are complicit in a trespassing offence could receive a fine of up to $200,000.
Property owners will be able to take civil legal action against trespassers. And trespassers would be required to justify their reasons for being on the property.
“And really, that is to deter people … from being a repeat offender, and ultimately opening up avenues for civil litigation with respect to the landowner and whoever may be the person that is the repeat offender,” Premier Scott Moe told reporters on Nov. 4, CBC reported.
Organizations like the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) are in favour of steeper penalties for repeat offenders.
“We see that as something we may have to look at in Saskatchewan,” Ray Orb, president of SARM, said during a November 2019 panel with members of the RCMP and provincial ministry of corrections and policing.
And Saskatchewan residents support the need for permission before entering a property.
In November 2018, the provincial government released the results of a trespass survey it conducted.
Of the 1,601 responses the government received, 1,039 respondents, or 65 per cent of people, indicated they are in favour “of permission prior to entry in all cases.”
Rural property owners in Saskatchewan have a tool available to them to help with issues related to trespassing.
The Sask Lander mobile app allows landowners to post their land as off limits for recreational users and to edit permissions for land.
Farms.com has contacted SARM for comment on the updates to Saskatchewan’s trespassing laws.