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WHEREAS Alberta’s Occupiers’ Liability Act does not adequately protect the landowner in cases where an individual or group are permitted access to the land and suffer injury;AND WHEREAS the Act has been recently amended in Alberta in respect of public lease lands, but not for private deeded land;AND WHEREAS several provinces and states have recently amended their legislation to hold the owners of privately deeded land harmless in such circumstances;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to amend the Occupiers’ Liability Act, to hold the landowners of deeded lands harmless in respect of personal injury sustained by the public, and in doing so protect farmers from the potentially high cost of a lawsuit and associated insurance.
Under the Occupiers’ Liability Act, the landowner owes a duty of care to people who may come on the land. The occupiers duty is to ensure that people and property on the premises are reasonably safe. There is no list of what will, or not, attract liability. However, the Act states that the common duty of care is in relation to the condition of the premises, the activities on the premises or the conduct of third parties on the premises.The legislation in some other provinces and states has been recently changed to better protect landowners in cases where an individual or group is permitted access to the land and suffers injury. In some instances, a category of premises includes lands that are primarily used for agriculture.In these instances, the legislation provides that the duty of care does not apply to anyone who trespasses on land primarily used for agricultural purposes. Nor does this apply if the entry is for the purposes of a recreational activity and the landowner doesnt receive payment for the entry or activity.The Occupiers’ Liability Act, at the very least, should be revisited to look at this issue. There are many instances where permission to enter land has been given for snowmobile rallies, hunting, etc. It would be in the best interests of all rural Albertans to perhaps change the legislation to better protect landowners from potentially damaging lawsuits.
The AAMDC currently has no resolutions in effect with respect to this issue.