animal welfare ontario

Ontario now has the strongest penalties for animal abuse in the country

Ontario's brand new animal welfare system came into effect yesterday, marking the first fully provincial government-based animal welfare enforcement system in Canada. 

The newly-implemented Provincial Animal Welfare Services (PAWS) Act means Ontario now has the the strongest penalties in Canada for people who violate animal welfare laws.

As of January 1, PAWS means that Ontario will introduce new inspectors with specialized expertise in livestock, zoos, aquariums, equines and more in order to provide province-wide coverage. 

The new act also enables Ontario courts to impose the highest financial penalties for offenders in Canada.

On top of this, the province will also "update prohibitions and obligations, such as barring the return of dog fighting equipment to a person convicted of an offence and harming or attempting to harm a service animal or one that works with peace officers."

A multi-disciplinary advisory table — comprised of experts such as veterinarians, agriculture representatives, academics, animal advocates and others — will also be established in order to provide ongoing advice on animal welfare to the ministry. 

In addition to PAWS, the province has also established a 24/7 toll-free number (1-833-926-4625) where people can report concerns about animal distress or abuse. 

"People care about the welfare of animals and so does our government," Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said in a statement.

"We committed to creating a strong, new system to protect animals, and we have delivered on that promise." 

Lead photo by

michal adamczyk


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