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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Ontario Trails News - About the Supporting Ontario Trails Act, and Trailhead Ontario 2016


What you should know about Bill 100 - 
Purpose of Act:
The proposed Supporting Ontario’s Trails Act, 2015, if passed, would help to address a number of long-standing trail issues, including the need for a legislative mechanism to establish trail easements, clarifying liability and the standard of care required by not-for-profits and public organizations, and increasing allowable compensation for damage to property due to trespassing. It would also provide opportunities for enhanced trails tourism and the enhanced management, promotion and use of trails.

The proposed Act would enhance the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s ability to manage trails on Crown land by providing greater compliance and enforcement options, and by creating an offence for damage to Crown land and property.

Background and Elements:
The Ontario Trails Strategy was developed collaboratively by numerous provincial ministries and agencies, stakeholders and Aboriginal groups, and released in 2005. It established long-term strategic directions for planning, managing, promoting and using trails in Ontario. However, a number of long-standing issues have persisted.

In fall 2013, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport led consultations with the public, stakeholders and Aboriginal groups on ways to strengthen the Ontario Trails Strategy. This included outreach through the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry, five regional stakeholder sessions, and two Aboriginal engagement sessions. Through this process, legislative needs were identified, including a mechanism for trail easements to help secure long-term access to land for trails, amendments to the Occupiers’ Liability Act to clarify the “free entry” provision and amendments to the Trespass to Property Act to increase fines and remove the limit on compensation for damages.

The proposed Supporting Ontario’s Trails Act, 2015 (Bill 100), includes six schedules.

Schedule 1 would establish a new act entitled the Ontario Trails Act, 2015 that would: 
  • Proclaim an annual trails week, to coincide with International Trails Days which is held on the first Saturday in June. This could allow for the coordinated promotion of trails across Ontario.
  • Allow for the recognition of Ontario trails of distinction, the establishment of a voluntary classification system and voluntary best practices and the setting of trail-related targets, to enable promotion and tourism opportunities and consistent information for trails across the province.
  • Require the Minister to maintain a trails strategy that is periodically reviewed. Progress on its implementation would also be reported on.
  • Set out consultative and publication requirements for the establishment of targets, a voluntary classification system, voluntary best practices, a process for recognizing Ontario trails of distinction and the review of the Ontario Trails Strategy or the current trails strategy.
  • Set out a mechanism for eligible bodies, or their nominees, to enter into trail easements, with or without covenants, with willing landowners, to allow the long-term securement of land and help minimize the costly rerouting of trails.
Schedule 3 would amend the Occupiers’ Liability Act to: 
  • Clarify that the lower standard of care applies to occupiers of trail property which are not-for-profit or public sector organizations, even if there is an incidental fee related to access onto or use of the land, such as for parking; or if a public benefit or payment is given to a not-for-profit trail manager.
  • Amend the list of lands to which the lower standard of care applies to add portages.
Schedules 2 and 4 would make complementary amendments to the Motorized Snow Vehicles Act (Schedule 2) and Off-Road Vehicles Act (Schedule 4) to: 
  • Align with the amendments that would be made to the Occupiers’ Liability Act.
Schedule 5 would amend the Public Lands Act to: 
  • Make damage to Crown land and property an offence (definition of damage to be set out in a subsequent regulation; this offence provision would have no effect until the regulation is made and approved).
  • Enable a court to order a person, who has been convicted of this offence, to rehabilitate the damage.
  • Provide the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry with new enforcement tools to stop vehicles, inspect documents, and arrest persons suspected or caught violating the Act.
  • Increase the maximum penalties for offenders and the length of time to initiate charges, specifically:           
  • There will be different maximum penalties for individuals and corporations, and for subsequent offences. For individuals, the maximum penalties would increase from the current $10,000 to $15,000 for first offences and $25,000 for subsequent offences. For corporations, the maximum penalties would increase to $25,000 for first offences and $50,000 for subsequent offences;
  • Allow the courts to, in addition to the new penalties noted above, impose an additional penalty equal to the amount of money gained by person(s) violating the Act; and
  • Increase the limitation period (from the current two years from offence) to two years from discovery up to a maximum of 5 years from offence.
Schedule 6 would amend the Trespass to Property Act to:
  • Raise the maximum fine from $2,000, set in 1989, to $10,000. 
  • Remove the limit on the amount recoverable in damages at the time of prosecution.
Schedules 1, 3 and 6 (i.e. the Ontario Trails Act, 2015 and amendments to the Occupiers’ Liability Act and Trespass to Property Act) would come into force on a day to be named by Proclamation.

Schedules 2 and 4 (i.e. the complementary amendments to the Motorized Snow Vehicles Act and Off-Road Vehicles Act) would come into force on the day amendments to the Occupiers’ Liability Act come into force.

Schedule 5 (i.e. the amendments to the Public Lands Act) would come into force on the day the Supporting Ontario’s Trails Act, 2015 receives Royal Assent.

Other Information:
This proposed Supporting Ontario’s Trails Act, 2015, if passed, would complement other trail related initiatives including the development of the Pan/Parapan Am Trails, the Waterfront Trail at Ontario Place, as well as the Ontario Cycling Strategy and first action plan.

In the coming months, the Ontario Government would also be engaging trail stakeholders on plans to further implement the Ontario Trails Strategy.

Other Public Consultation Opportunities:
If the proposed Supporting Ontario’s Trails Act, 2015 is passed, there are several elements that would require further consultation with stakeholders, other ministries, provincial agencies, the public and Aboriginal groups. Consultations would occur at a later date only if it were passed.

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport would consult on the following elements set out within Schedule 1:
  • A process for recognizing Ontario trails of distinction;
  • A voluntary classification system;
  • Voluntary best practices;
  • The periodic review of the Ontario Trails Strategy; and
  • Establishing trails-related targets. 
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry would consult on a regulation defining damage to Crown land and property.

trailhead ontario

Join Us for Trailhead Ontario June 19-21!

Early bird registration ends - June 3rd, 2016

A full and varied program for Trailhead Ontario 2016. Be sure to join us in Renfrew, but book now!!
Rooms are limited and so is the size of the conference. Trailhead Ontario 2016 Symposium Itinerary
8:30-9:00AM Registration Coffee Served
9:00-9:15AM Welcome remarks Dignitaries
9:15-10:00AM Presentation Renfrew County with Algonquin to Adirondack Trail
10:00-10:30AM Presentation Ontario's Highlands Tourism Organization
10:30-10:45AM Break Coffee Break
10:45-11:15AM Presentation Petawawa - the development of our Regional Trail Association
11:15-11:45AM Presentation Ottawa Valley Outdoor Experiences
11:45-12:15PM Presentation Parks of the St. Lawrence
12:15-1:30 PM Lunch  
1:00-1:30PM Presentation Ontario Trails Council AGM (Members Only Please)
1:30-2:15PM Presentation Updates on the Trails Act and the Ontario Trails Strategy with the Ministry of Tourism Culture and Sport
2:15-2:45PM Presentation Ontario Federation of Agriculture
2:45-3:00PM Break  
3:15-3:45PM Presentation First Nation Tourism and Trails
3:45-4:15PM Presentation Trans Canada Trail
4:15-4:45PM Presentation Understanding and Preventing Lyme Disease
4:45-5:15PM Presentation Sentiers Prescott Russell and Glengarry Trails
5:15-6PM Networking Cash Bar
6PM - 9PM Dinner & Keynote Speaker Federal Climate Change Initiatives and Trails
8:30 – 9:00AM Registration Coffee Served
9:00-9:15 AM Welcome remarks Dignitaries - Madawaska Valley
9:15-9:45AM Presentation Township of Madawaska Valley Trail Developments
10:00-10:30AM Plenary Session Principles of Trail Risk Management, with Jeff Jackson
10:30-10:45AM Coffee Break  
10:45-11:30AM Plenary Session Trails Risk Management - How to Say Yes to Trails, with Jeff Jackson
Noon-1PM Lunch Networking Lunch
1:00-2:00PM Plenary Session Water Trails - Developing trails for Use
2:00-2:45PM Plenary Session Ottawa River-Keeper - programs and plans for development
2:45-3:00PM Break  
3:00-3:30PM Plenary Session Integrated Trails Tourism Project
3:30-4:00PM Plenary Session Mattawa Trail Development
4:00-4:30PM Plenary Session Developing Horse Trails
4:30PM Wrap-up and Next Steps Trailhead Canada 2017!

We are going to be talking about the new Adirondack to Algonquin trail Plan with representatives from the Adirondack to Algonquin Organization - Please welcome Emily Conger from the A2A Trail Collaborative.

Work with the Ontario's Highlands Tourism Organization as they expend trails in the region and take advantage of trails tourism potential in Eastern Ontario!

Over the last two years Petawawa Economic Development has spearheaded the development of a community trails committee along the lines of the OTC RTC model. Join Kelly Williams from Petawawa as he discusses the development and successes of this initiative in support of trails!

Ottawa Valley Outdoor Experiences! rarely is there so much to do in an area. Ottawa Valley has it all. Trails, amenities and more - join us as we learn about their quality and quantity of trails related destinations and experiences

Over the past 6 years the Parks of the St. Lawrence have revitalized their trail system, offering more and newer kilometers of trails in support of the park's other experiences. Welcome Lou Seiler from Parks of the St. Lawrence as he talks about the development and enactment process!

Since 2012 the Ontario Ministry of Tourism Culture and Sport has worked to consult with communities on the Ontario trails strategy and the various new legislation in support of trails - i.e. "The Supporting Ontario trails Act." Come and hear from the government on the progress we are making together to make better communities through trails.

City of Ottawa Cycling and trails - Ottawa has a world class system of trails and cycling routes. Come and here the planning department talk about the fit of planning with trail development!

The National Capital Greenbelt in Ottawa has over 150 kilometres of trails that connect to the Trans Canada Trail, Rideau Trail and Capital Pathway network. Whether you have half an hour for a short hike or plan on spending the day, the Greenbelt has something for you.

Trans Canada Trail works with local partners – trail owner/operators – to plan and support development of trail across Ontario. With a connectivity challenge to be met for 2017 come and hear about how the TCT supports trails, communities and it's completion!

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month and it's only right that you protect yourself while out on the trails. Lyme-carrying black-legged ticks can be found across Canada - but the highest concentration of infection is in Eastern Canada - which scientists believe is linked to climate change. Follow these tips to avoid Lyme disease. Come to the conference and hear about the strategies the working group is developing to help the public.

Sentiers Prescott Russell and Glengarry Trails are two trail supporting organizations in eastern Ontario. One is a County Committee the other operates as a "Friends of" model. Learn about both styles of operation and the trails they support!

Township of Madawaska Valley Trail is developing at a fast pace. A regional leader, the Township supports the trail enhancements for both the community and the tourist. Join us to hear about their trail gains.

Principles of Trail Risk Management, and Trails Risk Management - How to Say Yes to Trails, with Jeff Jackson, will provide the latent trail developer, or the trail leader with undeveloped projects or political will to get the trails done, with insight for planners and politicos alike to say yes to trails. We aren't as risky as you think!

Ottawa River-Keeper - programs and plans for development, they were thrilled when we contacted them, because they are a small group protecting a big river and they know you probably also have a river that needs support in order to maintain itself for paddlers!

Just look at the list of projects on this page Mattawa Trail Development, these folks are bringing the house down with all types of trails and new projects. Learn how they are getting it done.

First Nation Tourism and Trails, join First Nations leaders as we discuss the joint relationship on the land we share. An emerging force in tourism and trails we should figure out ways to work with all communities so we co-develop trails!

Register today!