Unauthorized entry into private property has different consequences in Canada. And there are certain laws regarding this.
But there are confusions among people like when do you report it? Can you call the police for trespassing? Well, the answer is yes, you can call the police. But that will depend on some circumstances.
Let’s know more about when to contact the police and everything regarding the trespassing property act.
What is Trespassing?
Simply because someone stepped on your property does not necessarily mean they are trespassing. Instead, anyone who accesses your property without your permission is considered trespassing.
So, trespass is committed when someone enters your property without your permission or a valid reason. While trespassing is typically described as an unauthorized intrusion onto another person’s private property, it can also refer to engaging in illegal activities on that property and then refusing to leave when asked to do so.
There are certain Common laws, Provincial laws, and the Criminal Code about trespassing In Canada. And it’s one of the earliest torts recognized by the law.
Let’s know bit more details…
Provincial Trespass to Property Act
The trespassing act comes under the provincial Trespass to Property Act. In addition, the common law only applies in the territories. Moreover, a property owner has the legal authority to pursue trespassers under the terms of some provincial privacy, motor vehicle, fish and wildlife, and even all-terrain vehicle acts.
Trespass laws increase control over access to or use of an owner’s or tenant’s property, establish penalties and remedies for violations of the Act, and facilitate privately owned recreational use of privately owned lands.
However, it does not take away an owner’s or tenant’s right to file a trespass lawsuit. Once reported, your province’s jurisdiction will take measures to restrict this behaviour.
Furthermore, reverse onus rules exist in some provinces. That means a person is believed to be trespassing whenever they are discovered in a private garden, field, or farming land, inside lands that are fenced for cattle or cultivation, or on lands with warnings.
How to Keep Someone Off Your Property Legally?
There are two primary methods for informing trespassers that they are not permitted on your property.
Let’s elaborate on the two measures for trespassing so that you can understand whether you need to call the police.
Give a verbal notice
Initially, people don’t ask for legal help. So, you can simply warn them about the restriction and ask them to leave. This method works when you yet don’t have any restriction notice.
Anyway, people should no longer enter your property or remain there after you have given them notice. If they do, you can notify the enforcement of your province.
A trespass notice doesn’t have to be in any particular format. To prevent people from entering your property, you can either put a notice on a piece of paper or speak to inform them. In most cases, giving notice in writing is preferable because it provides evidence of notice if any dispute arises later.
In addition, take note of the time and date you gave notice. The best way to keep a record of the time and date is to email yourself immediately. This way, the time and date are automatically recorded precisely. And this will be useful if they come back again and while filing a case against them.
Putting up a warning sign
Installing a sign on your property is another approach to giving notice. You can either post a sign prohibiting particular activities, like saying – dog walking is not permitted on your land. Or you can use a ‘No entrance’ signboard.
A “no trespassing” sign or another similar sign can be set up to prevent someone from entering your property for any reason. Many local governments also permit using a red circle on a white backdrop to signify “no trespassing,” but many people might not know what this signifies.
Still, some people choose to warn verbally again and again with or without a sign/paper notice when people repeatedly enter the property against their permission. And it’s safe until the trespasser is not damaging your property or harming you. Nevertheless, it’s no way safe, so you should not take the risk.
Can You Remove a Trespasser by Yourself?
Yes, you can do that. You are allowed to do it alone, with the help of other people, or you can ask someone else to eject a trespasser from your property. Also, it is justified to use the necessary force. As long as you are not utilizing anything other than it’s necessary, it’s fine.
What if the trespasser resists your action? Assault by trespass Canada suggests that a trespasser who opposes the owner, tenant, or authorized individual to stop from entering or removing them is considered an assault on the people without cause or provocation.
Can you call the police for trespassing?
You are already aware that you can call the police. But generally, you are supposed to call the police if you feel unsafe. Considering that, you can contact the enforcement of your city to ask the trespasser to leave.
Next, a bylaw officer from the local government will be sent. Yet, you can always contact the police if you are concerned about your safety. That also answers the question – can you call 911 for trespassing?
What are the Trespassing Charges in Canada?
Police or enforcement from your area will handle trespassing allegations in different ways. They can—
- Talk to the intruder
- Settle it between you and the trespasser, maybe by apologizing.
- Warning the trespasser
- Give the intruder a provincial offences ticket. Basically, this is the first penalty for trespassing on private property.
If you are trespassing property, you might get a provincial offences notice or summons, also called a ticket. If the trespasser receives a ticket, they may need to pay a fine of between $50 and $ 10,000.
No jail term will be imposed at this stage. And you can request a trial to contest the charge of trespassing.
Compared to a criminal court trial, a Provincial Offences Court trial is less formal. If this occurs, you may need to serve as a witness.
How to Charge Someone with Trespassing in Alberta?
The Trespass Statutes (Protecting Law-abiding Property Owners) Act enhances property owner protections and ensures trespassers are held responsible for their actions. This will:
- Increase the highest fines to prevent trespassing to better protect law-abiding property owners from legal liability for injuries to criminal trespassers.
- Better protect farmers and ranchers against protester trespasses and occupations, which threaten animal health and run the risk of introducing illness.
Property owners must remember that they may still be criminally liable for their acts and should contact law enforcement to deal with trespassers.
Is Trespassing a Criminal Offence?
In cases when there is a risk of harm in trespassing, the police can arrest the intruder or charge them, considering it a crime.
On the other hand, in the Criminal Code, it is unlawful to loiter or prowl at night on another person’s property and near “dwelling hoses’.
- The Criminal Code defines “night” from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Any permanent or temporary home and anything connected to it is called “dwelling-houses.”
- And walking around aimlessly without a clear destination is defined as loitering. But if people don’t go on a person’s private property, this behaviour is a misdeed.
- Prowling is primarily characterized by movement. So, prowling means moving covertly and slowly around the property.
If you are charging someone for trespassing, you aren’t required to prove that the accused is planning some criminal activity. On top of that, if someone is guilty of prowling, they must show a legitimate reason for that activity.
As a property owner, you are allowed to use your property following laws. And that includes protecting it from trespassers too. Sometimes the situation gets serious, and the trespasser gets charged with bigger allegations. And that requires legal action.
We hope this helps you to handle trespassing. And if you need any legal assistance, contact a property lawyer immediately.
The following queries can help you with further classification. Give them a read if you need more information.
Can I sue for trespassing?
You can file a civil lawsuit if someone illegally enters your property and causes harm. That means, as the owner or occupant of the land, you have the legal right to sue the trespasser in court and demand compensation.
How much can you sue for trespassing?
Typically, if the trespasser is found guilty for the first time, they will be fined up to $5,000 under common laws. If it's the second time, one can be charged with as high as $25k if they trespass a private property repeatedly. And the compensation for property damages will vary.
How to charge someone with trespassing?
To charge a trespasser, you need to report the incident to the police. Once the police arrive, they will inquire about you (owner or occupier) regarding the crime, such as time, date, and other questions if necessary. Depending on the type of crime, the offered can be charged under the Provincial offence court, Criminal court, or the small claim court.
How can I stop my neighbour's trespassing?
The best thing to do when dealing with trespassing neighbours is to talk to them about the issue. If that does not stop, you can use a 'No Trespassing' sign in your yard to further restrict them from entering your property. Also, you can build a sturdy barrier or get a guard dog to watch over your property.
Can you take someone to court for trespassing?
Yes, you can sue them in civil court if they damage your property. And a civil action is a legal proceeding in court that handles interpersonal conflicts.