New laws strengthen biosecurity protections in Manitoba

New laws strengthen biosecurity protections in Manitoba

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Amendments create new restrictions and offenses related to trespassing

New legislation that recently went into effect in Manitoba, Canada, protects landowners from trespassers, and protects against biosecurity risks.

The new laws amend the Petty Trespasses Act, the Occupiers’ Liability Act and the Animal Diseases Act, creating new restrictions and offenses related to trespassing on private property, including farms.

“Trespassing is an important issue in rural Manitoba, because every landowner has the right to have their property respected,” said Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Ralph Eichler in a press release. “Farms and rural property need to be protected as a business, but also as people’s homes. Trespassing can expose farms and food production facilities to biosecurity risks that could spread disease and may cause injury and stress to farm animals.”

Bill 62, the Animal Diseases Amendment Act, strengthens legislation to protect biosecurity zones in place on agricultural operations, and protects livestock from biosecurity breaches during transport and at food processing facilities. Bill 63, the Petty Trespasses Amendment and Occupiers’ Liability Amendment Act, removes the need to confront trespassers where possible, by making entry onto certain specified premises without permission an offense, unless the person has a lawful excuse for doing so.

“Improvements to trespassing and biosecurity laws are important steps in ensuring Manitoba farm families feel safe and biosecurity protocols are maintained,” said Bill Campbell, president, Keystone Agricultural Producers.

Eichler said the changes to the laws are based on recommendations by Manitoba’s auditor general to strengthen legislation to support the province’s ability to proactively address an animal disease emergency.

Amendments to the Occupiers’ Liability Act ensure a landowner’s legal responsibility for injury is fair and reasonable when someone is on their property without permission. Previously, owners, occupiers or tenants of premises had the same level of legal responsibility for injury or harm to criminal and non-criminal trespassers.

Amendments to the Provincial Offences Act will permit enforcement officers to issue tickets with set fines for offenses with respect to animals in transport and at food processing facilities.

The Animal Diseases Act went into effect on October 8, and the Petty Trespasses Act and the Occupiers’ Liability Act went into effect on October 15.