Ready or not, new law on trespassing soon in effect

The law, which comes into effect Jan. 1, requires recreational users to be given permission when entering a landowner’s property or facing fines. But a representative from a wildlife group says there is still a lot of work to be done to keep the system running smoothly.

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While it has taken a while for many rural owners, some hunters and recreational users say they are not yet ready for the new provincial trespassing law.

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The law, which comes into effect Jan. 1, requires recreational users to be given permission to access a landowner’s property. But a representative from a wildlife group says there is still a lot of work to be done to keep the system running smoothly.

“I don’t think we’re ready yet,” said Darrel Crabbe, executive director of the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation. “We’re going to be working with other organizations to see if there’s a better mousetrap, if you will, for some kind of program that will link hunters and landowners. “

The province hopes the law will allay the concerns of landowners concerned about rural crime. He also said that treaty rights would be respected.

In response to concerns, the government said it was open to comment. He said landowners can still post “no trespassing” signs on their property.

“People should apply for permission to access rural land for recreation. It has long been a best practice for taught permission in hunter safety. It just makes it official, ”said Noel Busse, executive director of communications at the Department of Justice and attorney general.

Previously, the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations had expressed concerns about the law, saying it could lead to further disputes.

For rural landowners, however, they hope the changes alleviate concerns about crime, said Ray Orb, president of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities.

“We’re ready for it,” Orb said. “Although the RCMP have told us that there has been a slight decrease in crime in some rural areas, break-ins and thefts are still too high and we would like that to decrease further.

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“Rural crime is quite prevalent and I think people are ready for a change. “

The changes to the law mean that violators could be fined up to $ 5,000 for accessing property without permission. New legislation aims to increase fines up to $ 25,000, but this has not yet come into force.

If the new legislation is passed, a six-month jail sentence is also possible and companies could be fined up to $ 200,000.

Even though rural landowners eagerly await changes, recreational users said a better system needs to be in place for communicating with landowners to obtain permission.

There is a web app called SaskLander that allows users to connect with landowners, but Crabbe said hunters have found the app difficult to use.

“It hasn’t disappeared at all, certainly with the hunting community. It was going to be very expensive and not provide us with something that we didn’t already have, ”he said. “So we want to work more with landowners directly and find the best way for hunters to contact landowners. “

SaskLander co-founder Aldo Scribante said landowner information is kept confidential and users will not be billed for the service until March 31.

“We’re starting to see good traction over time,” he said. “Right now our coverage isn’t quite where it needs to be, but we’re working hard enough to increase that coverage. That will really be our goal for the next few months. “

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Scribante said that while he thinks the province is ready for the change, there will be some issues that need to be addressed.

“There is definitely going to be a period of adjustment,” he said. “As long as recreational users get written permission, I think they can bypass it. I also think landowners may be shocked at how many applications they will be getting in a year or two.

Orb encouraged people to use a number of different modes to gain permission to access land.

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