Help Us Stop Bill 100, the Trails Act

Published April 1, 2016

One of the mandates of the Ontario Landowners Association (OLA) is to educate the public regarding their rights as private property owners. Since we became aware of Bill 100, the Trails Act, we have been actively contacting those that are impacted by the Bill. This includes local and provincial snowmobile clubs, the Ontario Trails Council, local trails clubs, and property owners. In most cases, these groups were unaware of the Bill, which was introduced last May by MPP for Don Valley East, Michael Coteau.

In discussions with these groups, it appears that no-one asked for a Bill that proposes easements, registered on title of private property. Whether you believe that the easements are voluntary or not, this is a bad Bill, which was crafted without input from those affected, or so we are told by the various groups. Nor will these groups be consulted when the regulations that go along with this Bill are designed, or when future amendments are made to the Act. With this much uncertainty surrounding the Bill and its future impact on trails, how can anyone say it does not threaten property rights, or likewise the good relationship between recreational clubs and property owners?

The OLA respects the agreements that have been in effect for decades between recreational groups and private property owners. Many of us use these trails and want to see them continue, but without the interference of government. Many will agree that the current method of negotiating with property owners for trail usage is not perfect but it works and has worked for decades. The government has no business interfering with these agreements. Bill 100 does nothing for private property owners. Let’s work together to pressure the Ontario Government to pull this Bill. Write to your MPP and to the Hon. Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport at Let’s return to the status quo.

4 Responses to “Help Us Stop Bill 100, the Trails Act”

  1. Barry Cooney April 15, 2016

    This should have been added to the above:

    If Bill 100 is truly transparent, voluntary, and will honour a “hand shake agreement” (with no strings attached) then I must ask – what is the purpose of this Bill? Anyone who has spent any time on this earth with eyes opened will tell you “it not what they (government) tell you that makes the difference – it’s what they don’t tell you! Clearly any benefits to this bill goes directly to The Ministry of Tourism, Trail Associations and “Eligible Body’s.
    Jennifer could you please supply a list of names of any land owners without a vested interest in this Bill that were consulted prior to this Bill being tabled?

  2. Barry Cooney April 10, 2016

    Ego Vs logic 08 April 2016
    CLEARLY, “Freedom of the Press” still thrives. As to what the qualifications a “journalists” must now require seems to be in question, as I have never read such nonsense and misinformation as that written by Jennifer Layman in the Ottawa Valley Business, Issue No 179, on April 5, 2016.
    Although a member of the Saugeen Regional Landowners Association for a couple years now I would like to inject my personal views on this scathing article – not in any way reflective of the OLA but, as a private citizen of Ontario.
    Jennifer, regarding your article entitled “Ego vs Ethnics”, Issue No 179 of April 5, 2016, I believe it is aptly named. However I see it directly as a self description of the author. Your views on the OLA and President Tom Black are beyond comprehension and not of this world. Jennifer, if indeed “ignorance is bliss”, than indeed – you must be a happy girl.
    You state the OLA would prefer to fight rather than inform for the purpose of being “glamorous”. Truly you know little of the OLA. To “inform” as you say is nothing more than mere words, ask anyone who has ever been victimized by a schoolyard-bully or Government(s) for that matter and you’ll find – there is a time for words and there ‘s a time to fight, to make a stand. To quote Edmund Burke: “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. May I suggest you ponder this quote for a while, for as the way I see it by asking the OLA to stay quiet clearly reflects on which side of humanity you stand.
    Jennifer, the OLA is far from “leading those same people down a dangerous path” and “that landowners should be worried about, it’s the OLA itself”. My God lady! Go to a few OLA meetings and actually get informed before you spew such nonsense! Could you please explain how in any way this Bill would be advantageous to the “tax” paying land owner, over and above the “hand shake agreements?”
    Jennifer in your article you write –

    “I explained that in my research, easements require a legal process that costs money, and where the landowner must be a willing party.”
    Does this research have a law degree backing it? Have you actually researched with a legal perspective?

    I keep hearing “those in the know”, – Radio personnel/Politicians/Journalist, referring back to Randy Hillier MPP as founder/past president of the OLA. I have never met the man so I will not comment on his abilities but, NEWS FLASH! –he is no longer involved in the OLA. Randy Hillier no doubtedly now sees through the eyes of a Politian. I have yet to see a law degree tacked to the end of his name, having said that, can he truly explore all legal aspects of Bill 100? Let’s face it, if laws weren’t open to interpretation the need for lawyers would greatly diminish.

    There are however certain sections of Bill 100 that leave me a little suspicious:
    “Ontario trails of distinction
    5. The Minister may recognize a trail as an Ontario trail of distinction.
    Trail classification system
    6. (1) The Minister may establish a trail classification system.
    Compliance voluntary
    (2) Compliance with a trail classification system established under this section is voluntary.
    Best practices
    7. (1) The Minister may establish best practices to further the purposes of this Act.
    Compliance voluntary
    (2) Compliance with best practices established under this section is voluntary.
    Ontario trails strategy
    8. (1) The Minister shall maintain an Ontario trails strategy,
    (a) that sets out strategic directions for the establishment, management, promotion and use of trails in Ontario; and

    (b) that is guided by the vision of a province that has a world-class system of diversified trails, that are planned and used in an environmentally responsible manner, and that enhance the health and prosperity of all Ontarians.”

    Now if I may be bold enough to get a little hypothetical here. In this ever seeking, cash strapped province of which we live, with Lib Wynne plotting the course. With tourism bringing in billions to the Canadian economy, employing 1000’s of workers could it be conceivable that the Ontario government seeing Tourism as such a strong economic force would possibly decide trails should be “expropriated” to insure these dollars keep flowing in. Would/could the word “voluntary” ever be taken out of an “amended” bill? Has this ever happened before? Just throwing it out there!
    In closing, I would like to rate the author of “Ego vs Ethnics”.
    Jennifer Layman: EGO – 10 Ethnics – 0
    Best regards everyone,
    Barry Cooney

    PS. Jennifer, one last comment. Please be advised had not the OLA brought Bill 100 to the forefront, Bill 100 may have been just another Bill silently passed.

  3. Ian Slingerland April 3, 2016

    This is not a good bill, stop the bill now

  4. Mary Ann McCrea April 3, 2016

    I love the use of trails, and hope that more are developed in the future all over the province, and the country. I think that forcing people to let others through their property will only alienate those that might be understanding and trusting of others who wish to pass peacefully through their lands.

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