A Saskatchewan government trespass survey finds the majority of respondents want people to get permission from rural land owners before trekking onto private property.
The results released Thursday show — out of 1,601 respondents — 1,039 (65 per cent) are “in favour of permission prior to entry in all cases,” while 515 (32 per cent) are opposed. The remaining 47 responses are deemed “inconclusive.”
The survey, which ran from Aug. 9 to Oct. 2, asked four questions:
- Should all access by members of the public to rural property require the express advance permission of the rural land owner regardless of the activity?
- Should there be a distinction between cultivated land, fenced property and open pasture land or should all land being used for agricultural purposes be treated the same?
- How should permission be sought and granted?
- Would making consent an express prerequisite in all circumstances represent an unreasonable impediment to recreational activities?
“What (the legislation) does is it says that a homeowner doesn’t have to go through the expense of posting every quarter section of land; what it says to a hunter is good practice is to get consent,” Justice Minister Don Morgan explained.
If people can’t find the land owner, Morgan suggests they go through neighbours or the rural municipality.
“The RM and the land title office provides you with the name of the registered owner. The address might not be up to date, but usually you find who it is by neighbours,” he said.
Morgan noted this fresh trespassing legislation isn’t a cure to rural crime in Saskatchewan, but instead a device for property owners and police.
“This gives them the tool to say, ‘You’re not entitled to be there. You’ll have to leave or you’ll be charged,'” he explained.
Morgan added the province plans to meet with hunting and agriculture groups, along with the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, before legislation is in place.
It’s expected to roll out before the new year.