Norfolk County recently received the following letter from the Ontario Minister of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs:
“Over the last year, I have spoken with concerned Ontarians from across the province
about trespassers on farms and at food processing facilities, and about interference with
livestock transportation. I heard firsthand about the risks and dangers those actions
pose to not just these sectors and the animals themselves, but also to the integrity of
our food supply.
That is why today I introduced legislation at Queen’s Park to help deter trespassing on
farms and other agri-food premises. If passed, the Security from Trespass and
Protecting Food Safety Act, 2019, will increase the likelihood of prosecution and
conviction of trespassers, putting in place protections for the agriculture sector.
Our government supports the right for people to participate in legal protests, but this
does not include putting the welfare of farmers, their families, their employees and their
animals at risk, or interfering with livestock in transport.
Trespassing on agri-food premises can be disruptive to agri-food businesses. It also
poses added risks compared to simple trespassing, including risks of introducing
contaminants to our food supply, exposing animals to stress and disease and risks to
Interfering with livestock transportation can create unsafe situations for both farm
animals and the people responsible for their safe transport.
This fall, I met with key stakeholders and farmers to discuss trespassing concerns,
including concerns for the safety of farmers and others involved in the agri-food sector,
the welfare of animals, the integrity of our food system and the need for more specific
We developed the proposed legislation based on the issues raised in those meetings. If
passed, the proposed legislation will increase the likelihood of prosecution and
conviction of trespassers, protecting a key pillar of economic competitiveness for the
agriculture sector. The act will provide additional enforcement tools and deterrents to
trespassing and obstructing the transportation of livestock, including:
- Fines of $15,000 for a first offence and $25,000 for subsequent offences,
compared to $10,000 under the Trespass to Property Act.
- Allowing the court to order restitution for damages.
- Expanding the limitation period in which charges can be laid to two years from
the day of the offence or two years from the day when evidence of the offence
- Offences for:
- Entering into prescribed areas of a farm or processing facility without explicit prior consent;
- Stopping, hindering, obstructing or interfering with a motor vehicle that is transporting farm animals;
- Interacting with farm animals being transported by a motor vehicle without explicit prior consent;
- Providing false or misleading identification; and
- Defacing, altering, damaging or removing any signs that have been posted to identify prescribed areas where farm animals are kept.
I know that the legislation, if passed, will offer better protection for farmers, their families
and their workers, and those working in other areas of the agri-food sector.
Trespassing or obstructing the transport of livestock is dangerous and risky to Ontario
farmers, the livestock transportation sector and our province’s food processors. Our
government is committed to the highest standards of animal welfare and I commend the
efforts of the agri-food sector in maintaining a high standard of animal care. I hope you
will support this proposed legislation and I commend your dedication to making sure
Ontario’s agri-food sector is strong and helps our communities thrive.
Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs”