April 23, 2020

What happens if someone breaks into my cottage?

One of our local association treasurers was asked by a member, “What would happen if the security check company called and said we had been broken into? Would we be granted access to the property in order to file a police report for our insurance company?

We contacted Constable Jason Richardson of the Ontario Provincial Police – West Region Provincial Liaison Team, our contact with the OPP. His response was this:

If a break and enter is reported, the OPP would send an officer and an occurrence number would be created. This number would be provided to the complainant, the local security person doing the property check, who could provide it to the owner. The officer may want to speak to the actual owner over the phone as well to help aid with the investigation.

It is always good to have the actual owner of the property attend when possible, so we can be sure what damage has occurred and what exactly has been taken, if anything. This does not always happen as many owners of cottages live a great distance away and it is not practical to attend for small issues.

With the current restrictions in place by Chief and Council, we would have to go through them, and on a case by case basis decide if owners need to come right away, or it can wait.
I can’t speak for Chief and Council, but the less people are out and about interacting with one another the better at this point.

We also asked the question of Kirk Roote of the Land Management Office, who replied, “I don’t see an issue if the visit was quick and limited to the assessment of the property.”

In summary, if your cottage is broken into, the person or service checking your property will inform you and the OPP of the incident. They will be given an Incident Number. You can obtain the Incident Number from the person doing your property check. You may contact the OPP or they may contact you.
The Incident Number is something you will need to file a claim with your insurance provider.

If the OPP determine that your presence is required, you may be permitted to go to your cottage for a “quick and limited” visit for the purpose of assessment and only for that purpose. In any case, you would likely be in the company of the OPP, who will have determined your presence is necessary and informed the Band. This would not be an excuse to come to the cottage for a family outing or to collect things. Constable Richardson said it well; “.the less people are out and about interacting with one another the better at this point.”

David Shearman
SCOI President