Sask. trespassing laws expected to change by spring
By spring, trespassing laws in Saskatchewan will likely look different than they do right now.
The provincial government is in the process of changing The Trespass to Property Act, The Wildlife Act, and The Snowmobile Act, to make it mandatory to get permission before accessing private land.
The new legislation is set to be discussed in the spring session of the legislature, but government said it is expected to pass.
Right now, landowners and renters are required to put signs on their property prohibiting entry if they don’t want people to access their land.
Justice Minister Don Morgan spoke at the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association semi-annual meeting on Friday, as many members of the group will likely be affected by the law change.
“It’s something that I think producers and land owners in the province have been asking for, for a long time,” said Bill Huber, president of the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association.
Morgan said the new legislation will put Saskatchewan in line with Alberta and Manitoba.
“They don’t require the signing to be done. We think it’s unfair to put that on a homeowner,” he said.
The law changes should clarify who’s responsible if an accident occurs on private land.
“We don’t mind, in a lot of cases, people just coming on to hunt or snowmobile,” said Huber. “But if an issue happens where somebody is injured, or seriously injured, or even killed, who has that liability?”
With the new legislation, the trespasser will be responsible.
As progressions were made in these law changes, concerns were raised from some Indigenous hunters about their access to land set out in the Treaties, and protected by the Natural Resources Transfer Agreement.
But the government said any law changes will not change any rights Indigenous hunters have.
“Government’s view is that the current Trespass to Property Act does not affect Treaty hunting and fishing rights as it neither creates a right of access to privately owned land nor takes those rights away. This will in no way change with any of the possible amendments discussed in this paper,” said a government spokesperson in an email to CTV News.
The government said the new legislation will likely come into effect in the spring.