Ice fishermen can face manslaughter charge for drilling holes in a frozen lake

Did you ever think that ice anglers could be charged with manslaughter? Well, read on as the following may be of great interest to you.

A few years ago, the CBC Reported that drilling a hole through the ice could result in legal charges. Section 263 of the Criminal Code notes that:

“Everyone who makes or causes to be made an opening in ice that is open to or frequented by the public is under a legal duty to guard it in a manner that is adequate to prevent persons from falling in by accident and is adequate to warn them that the opening exists.”

Everyone who fails to perform a duty imposed is guilty of

(a) manslaughter, if the death of any person results therefrom;

(b) an offence under section 269, if bodily harm to any person results therefrom; or

(c) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

In the past, this section of the Criminal Code has led to warnings in Alberta, where a Conservation group expressed concerns that serious charges could arise if someone were to accidentally fall through ice.

The association aerates shallow lakes to provide oxygen for fish but has scaled back the program after a warning from lawyers that the group could be held liable if someone were to accidentally fall through ice on an aerated lake.

The way we see it, there are not many ice fishers that can fall through an 8” hole nor have we heard of any reports of such, so don’t sell that auger just yet. However, if you were to for some strange reason chainsaw a big rectangle in which a high diver could hit at 20 meters… you’re walking on thin ice (pardon the pun) with the law!

This Photo is what Alberta Conservation Association is trying to do to stop people from falling into the ice Photos: ACA, Colin Eyo
This Photo is what Alberta Conservation Association is trying to do to stop people from falling into the ice
Photos: ACA, Colin Eyo
fence holder 02