The Saskatchewan government is introducing stronger penalties for trespass and making it easier for rural landowners to take legal action against trespassers.
The new legislation increases the maximum penalty to $25,000 for repeat offenders trespassing on the same property and adds jail time up to six months as an available penalty. As well a $200,000 maximum penalty for a corporation that is complicit in a trespassing offence.
Legislators say the Trespass to Property Amendment Act, 2021 seeks to balance the needs of landowners with the wishes of those who want to access private property for legitimate recreational activities. These changes respond to issues raised by rural landowners about individuals who continue to trespass on their property.
The Bill will allow property owners to take civil legal action against trespassers who enter or engage in activity on their premises without permission. It will also place an onus on the trespasser to justify why they are on the property, instead of requiring the owner to prove that an individual entered without permission.
Justice and Attorney General officials say the changes support previous amendments to the Trespass to Property Amendment Act that are to take effect January 1, 2022.