Bill 50, Provincial Animal Welfare Act, 2008

Bartolucci, Hon Rick Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services

Current Status: Royal Assent received Chapter Number: S.O. 2008 C.16

Viewing: Royal Assent (current version) pdf

Bill 50                                                          2008

An Act to amend the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act

Note: This Act amends the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.  For the legislative history of the Act, see the Table of Consolidated Public Statutes – Detailed Legislative History on www.e-Laws.gov.on.ca.

Preamble

The people of Ontario and their government:

Believe that how we treat animals in Ontario helps define our humanity, morality and compassion as a society;

Recognize our responsibility to protect animals in Ontario;

Acknowledge the work of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and its commitment and dedication to animal protection;

Appreciate that an effective and progressive approach is required to continue to provide the best possible protection of animals in Ontario.

Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:

   1.  Section 1 of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Interpretation

Interpretation

   1.  (1)  In this Act,

“accredited veterinary facility” means a veterinary facility as defined in the Veterinarians Actthat is accredited under that Act; (“établissement vétérinaire agréé”)

“Board” means the Animal Care Review Board; (“Commission”)

“distress” means the state of being in need of proper care, water, food or shelter or being injured, sick or in pain or suffering or being abused or subject to undue or unnecessary hardship, privation or neglect; (“détresse”)

“place” includes a vehicle or vessel; (“lieu”)

“prescribed” means prescribed by regulation made under this Act; (“prescrit”)

“veterinarian” means a person licensed as a veterinarian by the College of Veterinarians of Ontario. (“vétérinaire”) 

Minor owner, custodian

   (2)  Where the owner or custodian of an animal is a minor, the owner or custodian for the purposes of this Act is deemed to be the minor’s parents or guardians.

   2.  The Act is amended by adding the following heading immediately before section 2:

OntarioSociety for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

   3.  The English version of section 4 of the Act is amended by striking out “as the by-laws of the Society prescribe” at the end and substituting “as are provided in the by-laws of the Society”.

   4.  Section 5 of the Act is amended by striking out “as the by-laws of the Society prescribe” at the end and substituting “as are provided in the by-laws of the Society”.

   5.  Section 6 of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Officers

   6.  The Society shall have such officers with such powers and duties as are provided in the by-laws of the Society.

Chief Inspector

   6.1  (1)  The Society shall appoint an employee of the Society as the Chief Inspector.

Powers, duties

   (2)  In addition to the powers and duties of an inspector or an agent of the Society, the Chief Inspector shall have the powers and duties that may be prescribed by regulation, including the power to establish qualifications, requirements and standards for inspectors and agents of the Society, to appoint inspectors and agents of the Society and to revoke their appointments and generally to oversee the inspectors and agents of the Society in the performance of their duties.

Same

   (3)  The Chief Inspector of the Society may have additional powers and duties as are provided in the by-laws of the Society.

   6.  Section 10 of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Prohibitions re holding out as Society, affiliated society

   10.  (1)  No corporation or other entity, other than the Society or an affiliated society, shall,

  (a)  hold itself out as being the Society or an affiliated society having authority under this Act; or

  (b)  use the name “humane society”, “society for the prevention of cruelty to animals” or “spca” or the equivalent of any of those names in any other language, alone or in combination with any other word, name, initial or description.

Exception

   (2)  Despite clause (1) (b), a corporation or other entity that was an affiliated society on April 3, 2008 may continue to use the name “humane society”, “society for the prevention of cruelty to animals” or “spca”, or the equivalent of any of those names in any other language, alone or in combination with any other word, name, initial or description, even if it is no longer an affiliated society.

   7.  (1)  Subsection 11 (1) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Inspectors and agents

Powers of police officer

   (1)  For the purposes of the enforcement of this Act or any other law in force in Ontario pertaining to the welfare of or the prevention of cruelty to animals, every inspector and agent of the Society has and may exercise any of the powers of a police officer. 

   (2)  Subsection 11 (2) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Inspectors and agents of affiliates

   (2)  Every inspector and agent of an affiliated society who has been appointed by the Society or by the Chief Inspector of the Society may exercise any of the powers and perform any of the duties of an inspector or an agent of the Society under this Act and every reference in this Act to an inspector or an agent of the Society is deemed to include a reference to an inspector or agent of an affiliated society who has been appointed by the Society or by the Chief Inspector of the Society. 

   (3)  Section 11 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsections:

Identification

   (4)  An inspector or an agent of the Society who is exercising any power or performing any duty under this Act shall produce, on request, evidence of his or her appointment.

Interfering with inspectors, agents

   (5)  No person shall hinder, obstruct or interfere with an inspector or an agent of the Society in the performance of his or her duties under this Act.

   8.  The Act is amended by adding the following sections:

Obligations and Prohibitions re Care of and Harm to Animals

Standards of care for animals

   11.1  (1)  Every person who owns or has custody or care of an animal shall comply with the prescribed standards of care with respect to every animal that the person owns or has custody or care of.

Exception

   (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of,

  (a)  an activity carried on in accordance with reasonable and generally accepted practices of agricultural animal care, management or husbandry; or

  (b)  a prescribed class of animals or animals living in prescribed circumstances or conditions, or prescribed activities.

Same

   (3)  Subsection (1) does not apply to,

  (a)  a veterinarian providing veterinary care, or boarding an animal as part of its care, in accordance with the standards of practice established under the Veterinarians Act;

  (b)  a person acting under the supervision of a veterinarian described in clause (a); or

   (c)  a person acting under the orders of a veterinarian described in clause (a), but only in respect of what the person does or does not do in following those orders.

Prohibitions re distress, harm to an animal

Causing distress

   11.2  (1)  No person shall cause an animal to be in distress.

Permitting distress

   (2)  No owner or custodian of an animal shall permit the animal to be in distress.

Training, permitting animals to fight

   (3)  No person shall train an animal to fight with another animal or permit an animal that the person owns or has custody or care of to fight another animal.

Owning animal fighting equipment, structures

   (4)  No person shall own or have possession of equipment or structures that are used in animal fights or in training animals to fight.

Harming law enforcement animals

   (5)  No person shall harm or cause harm to a dog, horse or other animal that works with peace officers in the execution of their duties, whether or not the animal is working at the time of the harm.

Exception

   (6)  Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply in respect of,

  (a)  an activity permitted under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 in relation to wildlife in the wild;

  (b)  an activity permitted under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 or the Fisheries Act (Canada) in relation to fish;

   (c)  an activity carried on in accordance with reasonable and generally accepted practices of agricultural animal care, management or husbandry; or

  (d)  a prescribed class of animals or animals living in prescribed circumstances or conditions, or prescribed activities.

Same

   (7)  Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to,

  (a)  a veterinarian providing veterinary care, or boarding an animal as part of its care, in accordance with the standards of practice established under the Veterinarians Act;

  (b)  a person acting under the supervision of a veterinarian described in clause (a); or

   (c)  a person acting under the orders of a veterinarian described in clause (a), but only in respect of what the person does or does not do in following those orders.

Veterinarians’ obligation to report

   11.3  Every veterinarian who has reasonable grounds to believe that an animal has been or is being abused or neglected shall report his or her belief to an inspector or an agent of the Society.

Protection of Animals by Society

Inspection – places used for animal exhibit, entertainment, boarding, hire or sale

   11.4  (1)  An inspector or an agent of the Society may, without a warrant, enter and inspect any building or place used for animal exhibit, entertainment, boarding, hire or sale, either alone or accompanied by one or more veterinarians or other persons as he or she considers advisable, in order to determine whether the standards of care prescribed for the purpose of section 11.1 are being complied with.

Dwellings

   (2)  The power to enter and inspect a building or place under this section shall not be exercised to enter and inspect a building or place used as a dwelling except with the consent of the occupier.

Accredited veterinary facilities

   (3)  The power to enter and inspect a building or place under this section shall not be exercised to enter and inspect a building or place that is an accredited veterinary facility.

Time of entry

   (4)  The power to enter and inspect a building or place under this section may be exercised only between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., or at any other time when the building or place is open to the public.

Powers on inspection

   (5)  An inspector or an agent of the Society conducting an inspection under this section may,

  (a)  demand the production for inspection of a record or thing that is relevant to the inspection; and

  (b)  examine a record or thing that is relevant to the inspection.

Warrant – places used for animal exhibit, entertainment, boarding, hire or sale

   11.5  (1)  A justice of the peace or provincial judge may issue a warrant authorizing one or more inspectors or agents of the Society named in the warrant to enter a building or place specified in the warrant, either alone or accompanied by one or more veterinarians or other persons as the inspectors or agents consider advisable, and to inspect the building or place and do anything authorized under section 11.4 if the justice of the peace or provincial judge is satisfied by information on oath that,

  (a)  an inspector or an agent of the Society has been prevented from entering or inspecting the building or place under section 11.4; or

  (b)  there are reasonable grounds to believe that an inspector or an agent of the Society will be prevented from entering or inspecting the building or place under section 11.4.

When warrant to be executed

   (2)  Every warrant issued under subsection (1) shall,

  (a)  specify the times, which may be at any time during the day or night, during which the warrant may be carried out; and

  (b)  state when the warrant expires. 

Extension of time

   (3)  A justice of the peace or provincial judge may extend the date on which a warrant issued under this section expires for no more than 30 days, upon application without notice by the inspector or agent named in the warrant.

Other terms and conditions

   (4)  A warrant issued under this section may contain terms and conditions in addition to those provided for in subsections (1) to (3) as the justice of the peace or provincial judge considers advisable in the circumstances.

   9.  Section 12 of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Entry where animal is in distress

Warrant

   12.  (1)  If a justice of the peace or provincial judge is satisfied by information on oath that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there is in any building or place an animal that is in distress, he or she may issue a warrant authorizing one or more inspectors or agents of the Society named in the warrant to enter the building or place, either alone or accompanied by one or more veterinarians or other persons as the inspectors or agents consider advisable, and inspect the building or place and all the animals found there for the purpose of ascertaining whether there is any animal in distress. 

Telewarrant

   (2)  If an inspector or an agent of the Society believes that it would be impracticable to appear personally before a justice of the peace or provincial judge to apply for a warrant under subsection (1), he or she may, in accordance with the regulations, seek the warrant by telephone or other means of telecommunication, and the justice of the peace or provincial judge may, in accordance with the regulations, issue the warrant by the same means. 

When warrant to be executed

   (3)  Every warrant issued under subsection (1) or (2) shall,

  (a)  specify the times, which may be at any time during the day or night, during which the warrant may be carried out; and

  (b)  state when the warrant expires. 

Extension of time

   (4)  A justice of the peace or provincial judge may extend the date on which a warrant issued under this section expires for no more than 30 days, upon application without notice by the inspector or agent named in the warrant.

Other terms and conditions

   (5)  A warrant issued under subsection (1) or (2) may contain terms and conditions in addition to those provided for in subsections (1) to (4) as the justice of the peace or provincial judge considers advisable in the circumstances.

Immediate distress – entry without warrant

   (6)  If an inspector or an agent of the Society has reasonable grounds to believe that there is an animal that is in immediate distress in any building or place, other than a dwelling, he or she may enter the building or place without a warrant, either alone or accompanied by one or more veterinarians or other persons as he or she considers advisable, and inspect the building or place and all the animals found there for the purpose of ascertaining whether there is any animal in immediate distress.

Accredited veterinary facilities

   (7)  The power to enter and inspect a building or place under subsection (6) shall not be exercised to enter and inspect a building or place that is an accredited veterinary facility.

Definition – immediate distress

   (8)  For the purpose of subsection (6),

“immediate distress” means distress that requires immediate intervention in order to alleviate suffering or to preserve life.

Authorized activities

Inspect animals, take samples, etc.

   12.1  (1)  An inspector or an agent of the Society or a veterinarian, who is lawfully present in a building or place under the authority of any provision of this Act or of a warrant issued under this Act, may examine any animal there and, upon giving a receipt for it, take a sample of any substance there or take a carcass or sample from a carcass there, for the purposes set out in the provision under which the inspector’s, agent’s or veterinarian’s presence is authorized or the warrant is issued.

Same

   (2)  An inspector, agent or veterinarian who takes a sample or carcass under subsection (1) may conduct tests and analyses of the sample or carcass for the purposes described in subsection (1) and, upon conclusion of the tests and analyses, shall dispose of the sample or carcass.

Supply necessaries to animals

   (3)  If an inspector or an agent of the Society is lawfully present in a building or place under the authority of any provision of this Act or of a warrant issued under this Act and finds an animal in distress, he or she may, in addition to any other action he or she is authorized to take under this Act, supply the animal with food, care or treatment. 

Seizure of things in plain view

   (4)  An inspector or an agent of the Society who is lawfully present in a building or place under the authority of any provision of this Act or of a warrant issued under this Act may, upon giving a receipt for it, seize any thing that is produced to the inspector or agent or that is in plain view if the inspector or agent has reasonable grounds to believe,

  (a)  that the thing will afford evidence of an offence under this Act; or

  (b)  that the thing was used or is being used in connection with the commission of an offence under this Act and that the seizure is necessary to prevent the continuation or repetition of the offence.

Report to justice, judge

   (5)  An inspector or an agent of the Society shall,

  (a)  report the taking of a sample or a carcass under subsection (1) to a justice of the peace or provincial judge; and

  (b)  bring any thing seized under subsection (4) before a justice of the peace or provincial judge or, if that is not reasonably possible, report the seizure to a justice of the peace or provincial judge.

Order to detain, return, dispose of thing

   (6)  Where any thing is seized and brought before a justice of the peace or provincial judge under subsection (5), the justice of the peace or provincial judge shall by order,

  (a)  detain it or direct it to be detained in the care of a person named in the order;

  (b)  direct it to be returned; or

   (c)  direct it to be disposed of, in accordance with the terms set out in the order.

Same

   (7)  In an order made under clause (6) (a) or (b), the justice of the peace or provincial judge may,

  (a)  authorize the examination, testing, inspection or reproduction of the thing seized, on the conditions that are reasonably necessary and are directed in the order; and

  (b)  make any other provision that, in his or her opinion, is necessary for the preservation of the thing.

Application of Provincial Offences Act

   (8)  Subsections 159 (2) to (5) and section 160 of the Provincial Offences Act apply with necessary modifications in respect of a thing seized by an inspector or an agent of the Society under subsection (4).

   10.  (1)  Subsection 13 (3) of the Act is repealed.

   (2)  Subsection 13 (5) of the Act is amended by striking out “under subsection (3)” and substituting “under subsection (1)”.

   (3)  Subsection 13 (6) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Authority to determine compliance with order

   (6)  If an order made under subsection (1) remains in force, an inspector or an agent of the Society may enter without a warrant any building or place where the animal that is the subject of the order is located, either alone or accompanied by one or more veterinarians or other persons as he or she considers advisable, and inspect the animal and the building or place for the purpose of determining whether the order has been complied with.

Revocation of order

   (7)  If, in the opinion of an inspector or an agent of the Society, the order made under subsection (1) has been complied with, he or she shall revoke the order and shall serve notice of the revocation in writing forthwith on the owner or custodian of the animal that is the subject of the order.

   11.  (1)  Section 14 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsections:

Order for Society to keep animal

   (1.1)  A justice of the peace or provincial judge may make an order authorizing the Society to keep in its care an animal that was removed under subsection (1) if,

  (a)  the owner or custodian of the animal has been charged, in connection with the same fact situation that gave rise to the removal of the animal under subsection (1), with an offence under this Act or any other law in force in Ontario pertaining to the welfare of or the prevention of cruelty to animals; and

  (b)  the justice of the peace or provincial judge is satisfied by information on oath that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the animal may be harmed if returned to its owner or custodian.

Order re costs

   (1.2)  Where a justice of the peace or provincial judge makes an order under subsection (1.1), he or she may also order that the whole or any part of the cost to the Society of providing food, care or treatment to the animal pursuant to its removal under subsection (1) and pursuant to the order under subsection (1.1) be paid by the owner or custodian of the animal to the Society.

Same

   (1.3)  The Society or owner or custodian of the animal may at any time apply to a justice of the peace or provincial judge to vary an order made under subsection (1.2) and the justice of the peace or provincial judge may make such order as he or she considers appropriate.

Order to return animal

   (1.4)  The Society or the owner or custodian may apply to a justice of the peace or provincial judge to order the return of an animal that is the subject of an order made under subsection (1.1) and, if satisfied that there are no longer reasonable grounds to believe that the animal may be harmed if returned to its owner or custodian, the justice of the peace or provincial judge may order the return of the animal to its owner or custodian, subject to any conditions that the justice of the peace or provincial judge considers appropriate.

   (2)  Clause 14 (2) (b) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

  (b)  if a veterinarian has examined the animal and has advised the inspector or agent in writing that, in his or her opinion, it is the most humane course of action.

   (3)  Subsection 14 (3) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Notice

   (3)  An inspector or an agent of the Society who has removed or destroyed an animal under subsection (1) or (2) shall forthwith serve written notice of his or her action on the owner or custodian of the animal, if known.

   12.  Subsection 15 (1) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Liability of owner for expenses

   (1)  If an inspector or an agent of the Society has provided an animal with food, care or treatment, the Society may serve on the owner or custodian of the animal a statement of account respecting the food, care or treatment and the owner or custodian is, subject to an order made under subsection 14 (1.2) or (1.3) or 17 (6), liable for the amount specified in the statement of account. 

   13.  Section 15.1 of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Society, affiliated society deemed to be owner of abandoned animal

   15.1  If the Society or an affiliated society takes custody of an animal and no person is identified as the animal’s owner or custodian within a prescribed period of time, the Society or affiliated society, as the case may be, is deemed to be the owner of the animal for all purposes.

   14.  The Act is amended by adding the following heading immediately before section 16:

Animal Care Review Board

   15.  (1)  Section 17 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

No appeal if there is order for Society to keep animal

   (1.2)  Subsection (1) does not apply if an order in respect of the animal under subsection 14 (1.1) is in force.

   (2)  Subsection 17 (2) of the Act is amended by striking out “in respect of which an order has been made” and substituting “in respect of which an order under subsection 13 (1) has been made”.

   (3)  Clause 17 (3) (b) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

  (b)  notify the Society and the owner or custodian who issued the notice of the time, date and place fixed under clause (a).

   (4)  The French version of clause 17 (6) (b) of the Act is amended by striking out “donner un ordre” and substituting “rendre une ordonnance”.

   (5)  Subsection 17 (6) of the Act is amended by striking out “or” at the end of clause (b) and by repealing clause (c) and substituting the following:

   (c)  order that the whole or any part of the cost to the owner or custodian of an animal of complying with an order made under subsection 13 (1) be paid by the Society to the owner or custodian; or

  (d)  order that the whole or any part of the cost to the Society of providing food, care or treatment to an animal pursuant to its removal under subsection 14 (1) be paid by the owner or custodian of the animal to the Society.

   (6)  Subsection 17 (7) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Notice of decision

   (7)  Notice of the decision of the Board made under subsection (6), together with reasons in writing for its decision, shall be served forthwith on the Society and the owner or custodian of the animal.

   (7)  Section 17 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Society order not stayed

   (8)  An appeal to the Board in respect of an order made under subsection 13 (1) does not stay the operation of the order.

   16.  The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Offences

Offences

   18.1  (1)  Every person is guilty of an offence who,

  (a)  contravenes subsection 11 (5);

  (b)  contravenes or fails to comply with section 11.1;

   (c)  contravenes subsection 11.2 (1), (2), (3), (4) or (5);

  (d)  contravenes subsection 13 (5);

  (e)  contravenes or fails to comply with an order of the Board; or

    (f)  knowingly makes a false report to the Society in respect of an animal being in distress.

Penalty – individuals

   (2)  Every individual who commits an offence under clause (1) (a), (d), (e) or (f) is liable on conviction to a fine of not more than $1,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than 30 days, or to both.

Same

   (3)  Every individual who commits an offence under clause (1) (b) or (c) is liable on conviction to a fine of not more than $60,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years, or to both.

Penalty – corporations

   (4)  Every corporation that commits an offence under subsection (1) is liable on conviction to the same fine to which an individual is liable for the offence.

Penalty – directors, officers

   (5)  Every director or officer of a corporation who authorized, permitted or participated in the corporation’s commission of an offence under subsection (1) is also guilty of the offence and on conviction is liable to the same penalty to which an individual is liable for the offence, whether or not the corporation has been prosecuted or convicted.

Prohibition order

   (6)  If a person is convicted of an offence under clause (1) (b) or (c), the court making the conviction may, in addition to any other penalty, make an order prohibiting the convicted person and, if the convicted person is a corporation, the directors and officers of the corporation described in subsection (5), from owning, having custody or care of, or living with any animal, or any kind of animal specified in the order, for any period of time specified in the order, including, in the case of an individual, for the remainder of the person’s life and, in the case of a corporation, forever.

Restitution order

   (7)  If a person is convicted of an offence under clause (1) (b) or (c), the court making the conviction may, in addition to any other penalty, make an order that the convicted person pay the whole or any part of the cost to the Society of providing food, care or treatment to an animal that was the victim of the offence of which the convicted person was convicted. 

Other orders

   (8)  If a person is convicted of an offence under clause (1) (b) or (c), the court making the conviction may, in addition to any other penalty, make any other order that the court considers appropriate, including an order that the convicted person undergo counselling or training.

   17.  The Act is amended by adding the following heading immediately before section 19:

Miscellaneous Matters

   18.  The Act is amended by adding the following sections:

Service of orders, notices, etc.

   20.  Any order, notice or statement of account required or authorized to be served under this Act shall be served personally or by registered mail, fax, electronic mail or other prescribed method in accordance with the regulations.

Conflict with municipal by-laws

   21.  In the event of a conflict between a provision of this Act or of a regulation made under this Act and of a municipal by-law pertaining to the welfare of or the prevention of cruelty to animals, the provision that affords the greater protection to animals shall prevail.

Regulations

Regulations

   22.  (1)  The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations,

  (a)  prescribing activities that constitute activities carried on in accordance with reasonable and generally accepted practices of agricultural animal care, management or husbandry for the purposes of clauses 11.1 (2) (a) and 11.2 (6) (c);

  (b)  prescribing classes of animals, circumstances and conditions or activities for the purposes of clauses 11.1 (2) (b) and 11.2 (6) (d);

   (c)  exempting any person or class of persons from any provision of this Act or of a regulation made under this Act, and prescribing conditions and circumstances for any such exemption.

Same

   (2)  The Minister responsible for the administration of this Act may make regulations,

  (a)  prescribing and governing the powers and duties of the Chief Inspector of the Society, including the power to establish qualifications, requirements and standards for inspectors and agents of the Society, to appoint inspectors and agents of the Society and to revoke their appointments and generally to oversee the inspectors and agents of the Society in the performance of their duties;

  (b)  prescribing standards of care for the purposes of section 11.1;

   (c)  governing the report required under section 11.3, including its contents and the manner of making the report;

  (d)  prescribing forms for the information on oath required by subsection 11.5 (1), 12 (1) or 14 (1.1), for a warrant issued under subsection 11.5 (1) or 12 (1) and for an order issued under subsection 14 (1.1) or (1.4);

  (e)  governing applications for and the issue of warrants by telephone or other means of telecommunication for the purpose of subsection 12 (2), prescribing the form required to apply for a warrant under that subsection and the form for the warrant issued under that subsection, prescribing rules for the execution of such warrants and prescribing evidentiary rules with respect to such warrants;

    (f)  prescribing a period of time for the purpose of section 15.1;

  (g)  governing the service of orders, notices and statements of account for the purposes of section 20.

Commencement

   19.  This Act comes into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.

Short title

   20.  The short title of this Act is the Provincial Animal Welfare Act, 2008.

 

 

EXPLANATORY NOTE

This Explanatory Note was written as a reader’s aid to Bill 50 and does not form part of the law.  Bill 50 has been enacted as Chapter 16 of the Statutes of Ontario, 2008.

The Bill amends the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act in the following respects:

Prohibited Behaviours and Offences

Section 15.1 of the current Act makes it an offence for persons who are in the business of breeding or selling cats or dogs to fail to comply with standards of care set out in that section.  This section is repealed.  Under new section 11.1, it is now an offence for any person who owns or has custody or care of any animal to fail to comply with standards of care that are prescribed by regulation.  The standards do not apply to reasonable and generally accepted practices of agricultural animal care, management or husbandry or to classes of animals or activities prescribed by regulation.  Veterinarians, and persons acting under their supervision or orders, who are providing veterinary care in accordance with the standards prescribed under the Veterinarians Act are exempted from compliance with the standards.

New prohibited behaviours and offences are added as follows:

In new section 11.2:  no person shall cause an animal to be in distress; no owner or custodian of an animal shall permit the animal to be in distress; no person shall train or permit an animal to fight other animals or own or have possession of structures or equipment used in animal fights or in training animals to fight; no person shall harm or cause harm to a law enforcement animal.  The offences of causing or permitting distress to an animal do not apply in respect of activities permitted under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 in relation towildlife in the wildor fish, to reasonable and generally accepted practices of agricultural animal care, management or husbandry or to other classes of animals or activities prescribed by regulation.  The offences of causing or permitting an animal to be in distress do not apply to veterinarians, and persons acting under their supervision or orders, who are providing veterinary care in accordance with the standards prescribed under the Veterinarians Act.

New subsection 11 (5) makes it an offence to hinder, obstruct or interfere with an inspector or agent of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (the “Society”).

Penalties for the offences are a maximum of a $1,000 fine and 30 days in jail (for not complying with an order of the Society or of the Board, for obstructing an inspector or agent of the Societyor for knowingly making a false report to the Society in respect of an animal being in distress) and a maximum of a $60,000 fine and two years in jail (for the offences directly against an animal, under sections 11.1 and 11.2).  The penalties may be imposed on individuals, corporations and directors and officers of corporations. In addition, a court may make an order prohibiting an individual or corporation from owning, having custody or care of, or living with an animal for a period of time specified in the order.  The prohibition may be, for an individual, the rest of his or her life, and for a corporation, forever.  The court may also make an order that the convicted person pay restitution to the Society for all or part of the cost of providing food, care or treatment to an animal victim of the convicted person’s offence.  In the case of offences directly against an animal, under sections 11.1 and 11.2, the court may make any other order it considers appropriate, including that the convicted person undergo counselling or training.

Enhanced Protection and Enforcement Powers

New section 11.3 of the Act requires veterinarians to report to the Society if they have reasonable grounds to believe that an animal has been or is being abused or neglected.

New section 11.4 authorizes inspectors and agents to enter, without a warrant, places used for animal exhibit, entertainment, boarding, hire or sale in order to determine if the animals’ care meets the prescribed standards.  New section 11.5 provides for the issuance of a warrant if the warrantless entry under section 11.4 cannot be effected.

In subsection 12 (2) of the current Act, inspectors and agents of the Society are authorized to enter a building or place without a warrant if they have observed an animal in immediate distress; this is amended to authorize the entry if an inspector or agent has reasonable grounds to believe that an animal is in immediate distress. 

Under current subsection 14 (1) of the Act, the Society may remove an animal from its owner or custodian in order to feed, care for or treat the animal to relieve its distress.  New subsection 14 (1.1) is added, allowing for a justice of the peace or provincial judge to order that the animal remain in the Society’s care if its owner or custodian has been charged with an animal-related offence and if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the animal may be harmed if returned to its owner or custodian.  The order may be revoked if there are no longer reasonable grounds to believe that the animal may be harmed if returned. Where an order is made under new subsection 14 (1.1), the justice of the peace or provincial judge may also order that the owner or custodian of the animal pay the Society’s costs of providing food, care or treatment to the animal.

The current subsection 14 (2) of the Act sets out the circumstances in which the Society may destroy an animal.  Current clause 14 (2) (b) requires a written statement by a veterinarian that the animal is ill or injured and is incapable of being cured or healed without suffering.  This is amended so that the veterinarian’s written statement is now required to state only that destruction of the animal is the most humane course of action. 

Under new section 15.1, the Society or an affiliated society is deemed to be an abandoned animal’s owner for all purposes if the animal’s owner or custodian cannot be identified within a prescribed period of time.

All the entry powers in the Act apply to a building or place; in section 1 of the Act, “place” is defined to include a vehicle or a vessel. All the entry powers are amended to permit inspectors and agents of the Society to enter alone or accompanied by one or more veterinarians or other persons.  New section 12.1 authorizes inspectors, agents and veterinarians who are lawfully in any building or place to take and conduct tests and analyses on samples of substances and carcasses; it also authorizes inspectors and agents who are lawfully in any building or place to seize any thing presented to them or in plain view that they have reasonable grounds to believe will afford evidence of an offence or needs to be removed to prevent further offences.

Section 1 of the Act is also amended to clarify that if the owner or custodian of an animal is a minor, the minor’s parents or guardians are the deemed owners or custodians for all purposes of the Act.

The current Act provides for warrants to be issued by a justice of the peace.  The Act is amended so that all warrants and orders may also be issued by a provincial judge.

Organizational and Administrative Matters

New section 6.1 is added to the Act providing that the Society is to appoint an employee as Chief Inspector of the Society.  Section 11 of the Act is amended to clarify that references to inspectors and agents in the Act include inspectors and agents of societies affiliated with the Society.  New subsection 11 (4) requires inspectors and agents to show evidence of their appointment on request.

Current section 10 of the Act prohibits a society, association or group of individuals from professing to function as a society whose object is the welfare of or the prevention of cruelty to animals unless it is a corporation affiliated with the Society.  This is repealed and replaced with a provision prohibiting any corporation or other entity that is not the Society or an affiliated society from holding itself out as having the authority of the Society or an affiliated society under the Act or to use the name “humane society”, “society for the prevention of cruelty to animals” or “spca”, or their equivalent in any language.  However, a corporation or other entity that was an affiliated society on April 3, 2008 may continue to use these names even if it is no longer an affiliated society.

Under current section 17 of the Act, the Animal Care Review Board may order the Society to pay all or part of the cost of complying with a Society order or of providing food, care or treatment to an animal.  This is amended so that the Board may order the Society to pay an owner’s or custodian’s costs of complying with a Society order and it may also order an owner or custodian to pay the Society’s costs of feeding, caring for and treating the owner’s or custodian’s animal.   Section 17 is amended to provide that a Society order is not stayed by an appeal to the Board.

Currently, notices and orders under the Act are to be given personally or by registered mail.  These are all amended to allow for service by fax, electronic mail or other prescribed methods.

New section 21 of the Act provides that, in the event of conflict between the Act or a regulation made under it and a municipal by-law, the provision that affords the greater protection to animals prevails.

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