What to do BEFORE They Come for You by the OLA

Many of you will be familiar with a guide called “What to do WHEN They Come for You”. Written several years ago to help landowners cope with unwanted visitors who enter their property unannounced and uninvited, this guide is available in every edition of the Landowner Voices online magazine.  At one time, we also had this information printed on small business-size cards that we made available to members and the general public at Landowner meetings.

The information in the guideline is more important than ever in the uncertain times introduced by governments in the hope of controlling COVID. No matter where you stand on these restrictions, especially in Ontario, of lockdown measures and the removal of civil liberties, it is a good idea to know your rights if/when an unwanted visitor comes knocking on your door.

For our “What to do When They Come for You” document, please see one of the editions of the online Landowner Voices magazine at https://ontariolandowners.ca/. We thought we should also provide some guidance on what to do BEFORE they come for you. Two simple suggestions:

  • Make sure you have a barrier across the entrance to your property. This can be a gate or a chain, or even a rope – something to signal that there is no right of first entry.
  • Post a no trespassing sign. In Ontario, a four-inch red dot is a universal no trespassing sign. You will sometimes see these painted on trees in woodlots along the fence line to indicate that trespassing, without permission of the owner, is not allowed. We prefer our OLA Back Off Government/No Trespassing signs. While the red dot may not be understood by everyone, there is no mistaking the message on our OLA signs. Contact your local Ontario Landowners Group https://ontariolandowners.ca/ontario-landowners-association-ola-chapters/ to obtain a sign. For a limited time, we are offering the signs at no cost to members and for a small donation to non-members.

It’s a good idea to record (video or audio) any discussions with unwanted visitors about their right to enter your property so make sure your smart phone or other recording device is charged at all times.

The National Farmers Union also offers some information on unwanted visitors to private property in Ontario. See https://nfuontario.ca/new/know-your-rights-when-dealing-with-trespassers/.