Addressing the unique risks associated with on-farm trespass
Elgin-Middlesex-London, December 2, 2019 – A proposed Bill introduced in the Ontario
Legislature will, if passed, better protect farmers, their animals, livestock transporters
and the province's food supply from on-farm trespassers. The proposed legislation
would also require explicit prior consent to access an animal protection zone on
a farm or food processing facility.
"We have heard concerns from farmers, farm organizations, processors, livestock
transporters, and municipalities in Elgin-Middlesex-London about trespassing and
concerns about the safety of farm families, employees and farm animals," said MPP
Jeff Yurek. "Our government is taking action to help protect them and protect our
Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, introduced the
proposed Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2019 in the Ontario
Legislature following consultations held throughout the fall with key stakeholders
and people impacted by interference in their livestock operations. The health and
safety of individuals and farm animals is at the heart of the proposed legislation.
"Interfering with the operations of farms, food processing businesses and livestock
transporters not only puts the health and safety of our agri-food workers and farm
animals at risk, but also jeopardizes our food safety," said Hardeman. "Our proposed
legislation takes important steps to protect the integrity of the province's food
The proposed Bill would, if passed, act as a deterrent to trespassers by:
- Increasing fines of up to $15,000 for a first offence and $25,000 for subsequent
offences, compared to a maximum of $10,000 under the Trespass to Property Act;
- Allowing the court to consider aggravating factors when determining the appropriate
- Allowing the court to issue a Restitution Order requiring the trespasser to pay
restitution for damages caused during the trespass;
- Increasing protection for farmers, owners, occupiers or drivers against civil liability
from people who were hurt while trespassing or contravening the act, provided there
was no intent to do harm to or reckless disregard for the trespasser.
The proposed Bill provides exemptions to allow access for municipal by-law officers,
police and persons appointed under provincial animal protection and other legislation
to access the property. This will be updated to reference the Provincial Animal
Welfare Services Act (PAWS) if both bills are passed by the legislature.
Under the proposed Bill, consent would be invalid if it was obtained using duress
or under false pretenses.
The proposed Bill would also address the safety risks of people interfering with
livestock in transport by:
- Prohibiting stopping, hindering, obstructing or interfering with a motor vehicle
that is transporting farm animals; and
- Prohibiting interacting with farm animals being transported by a motor vehicle without
explicit prior consent.