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You might not think twice about walking across your neighbour’s lawn or taking a shortcut through the school yard, but technically you’ve just trespassed. These more common types of trespassing will not usually result in fines or charges. However, in some cases, a violation of public or private property rights can have serious consequences.

Trespassing happens in many ways. This is particularly true in rural areas. Common problems include:

  • trespassers use private or unmaintained roadways to dump waste or conduct illegal activities
  • ATV riders and snowmobilers trespass on farmers’ fields which can cause serious damage to crops and cost a lot of money
  • in some instances, criminal elements use fields or open spaces to start drug grow ops

If an unwanted person is on your property or you see an example of trespassing on someone else’s property, report it immediately to the police. Always use common sense. Avoid putting yourself in danger by approaching the trespasser.

Find out more about trespassing in the Trespass to Property Act of Ontario. This provincial law deals with illegal entry into private and public property. It is most often used by private property owners to keep unwanted people off their property.