The Ontario government says it’s putting the safety of the province’s food supply first.
It comes as they are set to proclaim the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020.
Officials say the new law recognizes the unique risks that can result when individuals trespass onto farms and agri-food processing facilities or when they interfere with the transportation of livestock.
They say the Act increases protections for Ontario’s food supply, farmers, agri-food businesses and farm animals from trespassing activities.
It also maintains the right for people to participate in lawful protests on public property, provided such protests do not have the potential to cause harm and are conducted in a safe manner.
The Act will help protect our food supply and deter trespassing by
- Escalating 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;
- Prescribing aggravating factors that would allow the court to consider factors that might justify an increased fine;
- Allowing the court to order restitution for damage in prescribed circumstances which could include damage to a farmer’s livestock or from theft;
- Increasing protection for farmers against civil liability from people who were hurt while trespassing or contravening the act, provided the farmer did not directly cause the harm;
- Removing consent to enter a farm property when it was given under duress or false pretenses.