Response to 19-01 - OSPCA AND ANIMAL CARE ENFORCEMENT
The OSPCA is no longer conducting animal welfare investigations on livestock or equine farms. BFO was informed in March by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and the Ontario Ministry of Correctional Services and Community Safety (MCSCS) that all calls would be directed to local police beginning April 1, until a new animal care enforcement model could be developed. In the interim, OMAFRA has committed to assisting local police by connecting them with veterinarians and sector specific advisors, like BFO Animal Care Advisors (ACAs), as circumstances warrant.
In early January, an Ontario Superior Court Judge ruled that it is unconstitutional for the Province of Ontario to enact legislation that permits a private charity (the OSPCA) to have policing powers without government oversight. Although the government is appealing this ruling, the OSPCA has decided to abdicate its role in enforcement.
Throughout the winter, BFO has been meeting regularly with a coalition of livestock commodity organizations to discuss both short- and long-term solutions to the situation. A small delegation that included BFO staff also met with political staff from OMAFRA and MCSCS in February to discuss our concerns Regular communication between the coalition representing livestock agriculture, and the two ministries responsible for livestock and animal care enforcement continues.
BFO will remain actively involved in the discussions around the development of a new animal care enforcement model and new animal care act moving forward. In our estimate, this could take six months to a year to develop and implement. Government consultations are expected to be held later this spring.
Finally, in response to the resolution’s specific mention of inspector training BFO can confirm that all of the livestock organizations involved in these discussions share these concerns. BFO will be placing a strong emphasis in our comments to government about the need to ensure all animal care enforcement agents appointed under any new model are well-equipped and sufficiently trained to properly evaluate the species they are charged with inspecting, including familiarity and knowledge of industry approved standards of care.
Click here for a PDF copy of the response
Back to Resolution Responses