Trespass To Property


Can I Fish or Boat Wherever I Want in LaSalle or am I trespassing?

Boaters and fishermen often look for that special fishing spot or just out for a cruise or paddle but beware, not every body of water is public property.
Every so often, the LaSalle Police Service receives and responds to complaints of boaters and fishermen trespassing in canals and marinas within the Town of LaSalle.

The boaters are generally asked to leave the canal or property by the property owner and move on but sometimes an argument ensues over the boater’s right to go wherever the water goes. Many people believe that a person cannot “own” the water and therefore the boater is not trespassing if they are not touching the ground or surrounding property.

While there is some truth that which is laid out in the Federal Legislation – Canadian Navigable Waterways Act, there is more to consider…

Under the Navigable Waterways Act, no person, landowner, or otherwise, can restrict the free passage of a vessel from one navigable waterway to another navigable waterway.

The question is “What is a Navigable Waterway”?

In essence, the test for navigability, developed in Canada, is one of public utility. If a waterway has real or potential practical value to the public as a means of travel or transport from one point of public access to another point of public access, the waterway is considered navigable.

For example, the Detroit River is, by definition, a navigable waterway and is available for public use. Regarding all of the canals and marinas in LaSalle along the Detroit River, they are NOT naturally occurring. Most, if not all, were man-made and dug into, or out of existing properties for exclusive use by the landowner. They only have one (not two) point of public access, that being where the canal meets the river and does not lead to any other navigable waterway. Therefore, the canals and marinas in LaSalle are NOT considered navigable waterways as per the legislation and the landowner or occupant has the right to restrict access to the canal.

It is within the landowner’s or occupant’s right to post no trespassing or prohibited activity signs or to simply demand a boater or fisherman to leave immediately. Failure to comply with this demand is a violation of the Trespass to Property Act and could result in charges.
· If you are asked to leave by the property owner you must do so immediately.
· If you see a no trespassing sign or a sign prohibiting the activity you are engaging in, leave.
· When in doubt, ask permission.
· If you do have permission, it is advisable to get it in writing.
Always remain respectful and if you’re not sure, ask.


The LaSalle Police Service has received several complaints from citizens regarding people operating off-road/all-terrain vehicles inappropriately. Laws governing these vehicles stipulate that they must be covered with an insurance contract and they must be plated. The operator must wear an approved helmet and carry with them, proof of ownership and insurance. These vehicles can be operated on your own property or on someone else’s property with permission. If they are being used on property other than the owner’s property, the driver must have written permission and if not the operator is in breach of the Trespass to Property Act and liable to be charged and fined. The LaSalle Police will enforce all the provincial statutes related to using all-terrain vehicles. Some of the offences can result in fines as high as $5,000.00 for first-time offences.

The Essex Terminal Railway is concerned with the number of vehicles and pedestrians using the property along their railroad tracks. They have posted signs and barricades to restrict people from using that property. Any use whatsoever of the property along the Essex Terminal Railway tracks is prohibited and persons found on the property will be subject to arrest and fines as prescribed under the Trespass to Property Act.

The Essex Terminal Railway does not want any unauthorized people on their property.

Fines under the Trespass to Property Act include:
2(1)(a)(i)Enter premises when entry prohibited Fine$65.00
2(1)(a)(ii)Engage in prohibited activity on premises Fine$65.00
2(1)(b)Fail to leave premises when directed Fine$65.00