The Government of Saskatchewan has released the results of their trespassing questionnaire, which was posted online from August 9 to October 2.
Four questions were asked in the survey: 'Should all access to rural property require advance permission from the landowner?', 'Should there be a distinction between cultivated, fenced, and pasture land?', 'How should permission be granted?' and 'Would making consent to enter land cause unreasonable impediment to recreational activities?'
A large number of respondents indicated that there should be clear permission to access rural land and that the onus of permission should be on the person seeking access rather than the landowner.
As for 'Should there be a distinction between cultivated, fenced, and pasture land?', most of those who replied said all land should be treated the same when it comes to permission. However, there were snowmobilers who supported a legal distinction between private fenced property and unfenced property that does not require consent to ride on.
When asked how permission should be sought and granted, most responses were split between needing written permission, oral consent, and consent through posting or other signage.
Finally, when it came to the question 'Would making consent to enter land cause unreasonable impediment to recreational activities?', most respondents said they already seek appropriate consent before entering a property and that this change would only impact those who don't respect legitimate landowner concerns. A small minority, however, believe any changes will be detrimental to hunting, snowmobiling and other outdoor activities.
After reviewing the survey results, the government stated on Tuesday that they will be making amendments to The Trespass to Property Act, The Snowmobile Act and The Wildlife Act, 1998.
The legislation will clarify and ensure consistency in the rules regarding trespassing and will move the onus of responsibility from rural land owners to individuals seeking to access their property.
Don Morgan, Justice Minister and Attorney General, stated that previously land owners would have to post on their land to legally deny access and moving forward, those wishing to access the land will be required to obtain permission from the land owner or occupier beforehand.