Proposed law would protect SD&G farmers from trespassers

Local MPP Jim McDonell and Agriculture Minister Ernie Hardeman. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

SD&G – A provincial bill, currently making its way through the Ontario legislature, would protect SD&G farmers from trespassers who get hurt on their property.

Agriculture Minister Eric Hardeman and MPP Jim McDonell met with farmers this morning (Monday) in St. Andrews West to talk about Bill 156.

The bill, called the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, is currently in second reading.

The law would increase first offence maximum fines for trespassing to $15,000 for first offences and subsequent offences at $25,000, allow restitution for farmers for livestock damage and theft, and protect farmers from civil lawsuits from people who get hurt while trespassing.

“Our hard-working farmers, their families, employees and farm animals face unique risks and challenges associated with trespass onto a farm or into a food processing facility. We take their safety very seriously and this bill addresses those risks,” Hardeman said.

The minister added that it wouldn’t infringe of people’s right to protest. “However, these activities cannot include creating safety risks on farms or interfering with livestock in transport,” he said.