The Supporting Ontario’s Trails Act was passed with all party support on June 1st in the Ontario Legislature. This important legislation commits the government to building and maintaining trails for recreation and transportation for residents and visitors across Ontario. Trails are perhaps the most accessible physical activity opportunity (low cost, no skill or equipment) that we can offer to support healthy, active lifestyles. Please join HALO in sharing and celebrating this exciting step towards active, healthy lifestyles for all Ontarians.

Key elements of the Act include the following:

Ontario Trails Act, 2016
The Ontario Trails Act, 2016, when proclaimed in force, will proclaim an annual Trails Week, and allow for, among other things, the establishment of voluntary best practices, a trails classification system, granting of trail easements and the recognition of Ontario trails of distinction. It also requires the Minister to maintain an Ontario trails strategy.

Amendments to the Occupiers’ Liability Act
An amendment to the Occupiers’ Liability Act will, upon proclamation, clarify that the lower standard of care applies to occupiers of trail property if there is an incidental fee for access onto or use of the land, or if a public benefit or payment if given.

Amendments to the Public Lands Act
Amendments to the Public Lands Act, support better management of trails on provincial Crown land by strengthening compliance and enforcement provisions. For example, fines for the majority of offences under the Act increase, and the limitation period for laying charges would be lengthened. Damage to Crown land and property would become an offence, with damage to be defined in a subsequent regulation.

Amendments to the Trespass to Property Act
Amendments to the Trespass to Property Act, upon proclamation, will raise the maximum fine to strengthen the consequences of trespassing on private and agricultural land and increase the amount that landowners can recover at the time of prosecution for damages caused by trespassers.

Complimentary Amendments to the Motorized Snow Vehicles Act and the Off-Road Vehicles Acts
Complimentary amendments will be made to the Motorized Snow Vehicles Act and Off-Road Vehicles Act to align with a corresponding amendment to the Occupiers’ Liability Act.

Click here to read the Act in its entirety.