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Stronger Protection For Animals In Ontario

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Stronger Protection For Animals In Ontario

McGuinty Government Modernizes Animal Cruelty Laws

People who abuse animals will face jail, stiffer fines and a lifetime ban on animal ownership under the strongest animal protection law in Canada.

Passed today by the Ontario legislature, the Provincial Animal Welfare Act is the first top-to-bottom modernization of Ontario's animal protection laws since 1919.

Other key changes include:
  • Creating new provincial offenses including causing or permitting distress to an animal
  • Allowing the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to inspect places where animals are kept for entertainment, exhibition, boarding, sale or hire
  • Requiring veterinarians to report suspected abuse and neglect, and protecting them from personal liability for doing so
  • Extending the act's coverage to zoos.
The act also creates appropriate exemptions for wildlife, agriculture and veterinary practices, and respects areas already regulated by other legislation.

Quick Facts

  • The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals investigates roughly 17,000 allegations of animal cruelty each year.
  • There are estimated to be over 50 zoos in Ontario, which is more than all other provinces combined.
  • Historical quote: "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated," Mahatma Gandhi.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“Today is an historic day for our province when it comes to animal protection. Ontario has passed legislation that will give us the strongest animal protection laws in Canada, and bring more abusers to justice.”

Rick Bartolucci

Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services



Law and Safety