Amendments to Sask. trespass laws pass final reading in Legislature

The Government of Saskatchewan’s amended trespassing laws have been read and passed in the legislature.

Those who wish to use someone else’s land will need to get permission from the landowner beforehand

The province has made their proposed changes to the legislation surrounding trespassing on rural properties official. (Matt Garand/CBC)

The Government of Saskatchewan's amended trespassing laws have passed their final reading in the legislature.

On Wednesday, legislation the government says "strikes a balance" between landowners and land-users became official.

"We believe this legislation will promote communication with rural landowners while still giving Saskatchewan people the opportunity to take advantage of our beautiful rural landscapes," Justice Minister Don Morgan said in a news release.

Under the previous legislation, land owners had to post their land if they wanted to limit the public's access to it.

Now, those who wish to use someone else's land needs to get permission from the landowner beforehand, according to the news release. Landowners can choose to provide consent for different activities on their land by posting signs.

"The legislation will come into force after the necessary regulations are developed," the release said.

Innovation Saskatchewan is working with the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities to develop a technological solution that promotes contact between landowners and people who want to use their property.

"The legislation also provides protection to landowners and occupiers against property damage and the risk of agricultural diseases, and limits any liability that may arise from a trespasser's presence on their property," the news release said.

Changes scrutinized by FSIN, Indigenous lawyer

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) has been a vocal opponent to the changes.

Last year, FSIN chief Bobby Cameron called the changes unconstitutional and said they violated the treaty rights of Indigenous people, which he said trump provincial laws.

"Treaties are above provincial law, they are international law," said Cameron.

FSIN Vice Chief Heather Bear was also critical of the changes, which she said showed "deep disrespect for treaty and inherent rights."

North Battleford-based lawyer Eleanore Sunchild, who represented the family of Colten Boushie, expressed concerns about the changes and said they could stoke racial tensions in the province.

With files from Adam Hunter