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Sask. wants trespass legislation changes

Sask. wants trespass legislation changes

Following the results of a recent survey, the government will soon introduce legislative amendments

By Kate Ayers
Staff Writer

Before anyone can access privately owned rural property, they should have consent from the landowner.

Respondents to Saskatchewan’s recent trespassing survey largely shared this viewpoint.

“The survey showed a strong majority, two-thirds, … (of respondents) see there is room for changes in the legislation,” Todd Lewis, Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan president, said to today.

The results “speaks to rural property owners who have concerns about people entering their land without permission.”

Government officials launched the survey to gain insight on the public’s perspective on potential changes to trespassing legislation, a Government of Saskatchewan release said last week.

They collected residents’ input by mail, email and an online questionnaire between Aug. 9 and Oct. 2.

In total, the survey reached 1,601 respondents and the results were as follows:

  • 65 per cent were in favour of permission prior to entry in all cases
  • 32 per cent were opposed to permission prior to entry in all cases
  • 3 per cent provided inconclusive responses

“The responses show that many people see the current onus on the landowner to post their property as unfair, and that instead, the onus should be on the person accessing the private property,” Don Morgan, Saskatchewan’s justice minister, said in the release.

“We are now in the process of updating the legislation to clarify the consent requirements for those seeking access to privately owned land for recreational activities like hunting and snowmobiling.” 

Responsible hunters and snowmobilers already ask permission ahead of accessing properties, survey respondents noted. As a result, any changes will only affect a small number of users, Morgan added.

A reality of modern agriculture is that farmers need to know who is on their land and when.

“For rural landowners, one of the major issues is biosecurity,” Lewis said.

“It doesn’t matter if it is clubroot, an invasive weed species or even biological vectors in the livestock industry, it’s all about traceability and we need to know who is going to be present on our farms and ranches.”

The Saskatchewan government wants to update provincial trespassing legislation and aims to introduce amendments during the fall sitting of the Legislative Assembly, the release said.

More information on the format of the survey can be found here.   

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