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Maple Creek Fish & Game League annual meeting: Hunters told about new trespass laws

Posted on April 21, 2022 by Maple Creek
CST. ANAZTAZIA INKSTER

Hunters, be aware. Legislative changes have created stronger penalties for trespassing in Saskatchewan.
The new law also moves the onus of responsibility from rural landowners to those seeking access to their property.
Anyone wishing to enter a rural landowner’s property for recreational purposes must gain consent from the owner.
Permission is best provided in writing, which includes a text message.
Anaztazia Inkster, a constable from the Maple Creek RCMP detachment, outlined amendments to trespass legislation at the Maple Creek Fish & Game League annual meeting.
About 50 people attended the event this month at the Elks Hall, which featured reports by the RCMP, Conservation Officer Service, updates on CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease), fish stocks, 2021 fishing and hunting awards, a 50/50 draw, raffle tables, local vendor displays, and a chili supper.
It was the first annual meeting that the fish & game league has held in the last two COVID-19-interrupted years.
Cst. Inkster drew attention to legislation amending The Trespass to Property Act, which came into force at the beginning of the year.
One of the amendments stipulates that a first-time offender could face a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or both.
Someone who reoffends at the same premises could be fined not more than $25,000, imprisoned for a maximum of six months, or face both penalties.
In the case of a corporation, the fine is capped at $250,000.
Cst. Inkster said another key amendment related to the onus of responsibility if an action for trespass has been started. The burden now falls on the defendant.
The new law states that “… the defendant must establish that the defendant had reasonable grounds to believe that the defendant had the ongoing consent of the occupier to enter in or on the premises or to engage in the activity in or on the premises.”
In response to questions, Cst. Inkster advised that written consent be acquired, either on paper or digitally. Any signage should be visible.
When the legislative amendments were introduced, Gordon Wyant, Justice Minister and Attorney General, said: “This government has worked hard to balance the rights of landowners in rural Saskatchewan with those of recreational land users. I’m pleased to see the legislation come into force and I want to thank everyone who has worked and consulted with us in its development.”
Government says the legislation responds to concerns expressed by rural landowners about individuals who trespass on their property while still giving people the opportunity to access rural property for recreational purposes.
Police and provincial enforcement officers continue to be responsible for laying charges related to trespassing. Anyone who believes someone is trespassing on their property should contact their local police service.

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