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Proposed Changes To Improve Animal Welfare

Archived Backgrounder

Proposed Changes To Improve Animal Welfare


Ministry of the Solicitor General

If passed, proposed new legislation would amend the Ontario Society for
the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) Act to better protect animals in
Ontario. These would be the first comprehensive changes to the act since it
was introduced in 1919.

Proposed changes include:


- Giving the OSPCA the authority to inspect premises, other than homes,
where animals are kept for the purposes of exhibit, entertainment,
boarding, sale or hire.
- Clarifying the OSPCA's ability to enter premises, other than homes,
without a warrant, when they have reasonable grounds to believe an
animal is in immediate distress.
- Allowing the OSPCA to seize dead animal remains or take samples for
an investigation.
- Establishing the authority to remove and keep an animal where charges
have been laid and where there are reasonable grounds to believe the
animal may be harmed if returned to its owner.


- Creating new provincial offences within the OSPCA Act for:

- Causing or permitting distress to an animal
- Training or permitting animals to fight other animals, or owning
or possessing equipment or structures used in animal fighting
- Failing to comply with standards of care for all animals
- Causing harm to a law enforcement animal
- Obstructing an OSPCA inspector or agent
- Failing to comply with an Animal Care Review Board decision.

- Creating appropriate penalties for the new offences including fines
of up to $60,000 and a potential lifetime ownership ban.


- Creating appropriate exemptions for wildlife, agriculture and
veterinary practices
- Respecting areas already regulated by other legislation, such as
animals for research and municipal regulation of animal control.


- Requiring reporting of suspected animal abuse by veterinarians and
protect them from liability for doing so.


- Amending existing legislation including:

- Defining an owner or custodian to include that an adult is
responsible where a minor "owns" an animal and clarify personal
responsibility where an organization or commercial entity owns an
- Clarifying that an OSPCA order remains in force while it is being
appealed to the Animal Care Review Board
- Enabling the Animal Care Review Board to award costs of interim
animal care, or the costs of complying with an order, to either
party involved in an appeal.


- In the event of a conflict between the OSPCA Act and a municipal by-
law, whichever provision affords the greatest protection to animals
would take precedence.



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