Ontario Newsroom

Changes to improve animal welfare

Archived Backgrounder

Changes to improve animal welfare

Backgrounder

Ministry of the Solicitor General

Upon proclamation, 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.

Changes include:

NEW ANIMAL PROTECTION AND INVESTIGATION POWERS

- Creating standards of care for all animals
- 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
- Allowing the OSPCA to seize dead animal remains or take samples for
an investigation
- Establishing the authority to retain a seized animal where charges
have been laid and where there are reasonable grounds to believe the
animal may be harmed if returned to its owner.

NEW PROVINCIAL OFFENCES

- Creating new provincial offences within the OSPCA Act including:
- 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
- Making a knowingly false complaint to the OSPCA
- Failing to comply with an Animal Care Review Board decision.
- Creating appropriate penalties for the new offences including jail of
up to two years, fines of up to $60,000 and a potential lifetime
ownership ban.

PROTECT EXISTING PRACTICES

- 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.

MANDATORY REPORTING

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

CLARIFY EXISTING LEGISLATION

- 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
animal
- 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
- 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.

COORDINATION WITH MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY

- Without imposing on municipal by-law making authority, 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.

Share

Tags

Law and Safety