Animal Protection Act Regulatory Changes– Overview of draft Standards of Care


The Minister of Agriculture has a mandate under the Animal Protection Act to regulate animal protection and prevention of cruelty. The focus of the Act is to address activities that cause an animal to be in distress. The Act does not give the minister authority for animal control, which is a municipal responsibility under the Municipal Government Act.

Many municipalities have by-laws targeted at controlling the animal population including licensing processes, impounding and seizure procedures for stray animals and offences related to dangerous animals or animals causing a nuisance.

The Animal Protection Act was amended in spring 2013. It gave the Provincial Government broader powers to regulate the welfare of companion animals, and particularly dogs, including:

  • standards of care for animals;
  • standards for transportation;
  • standards with respect to the sale of companion animals.

The definition of “distress” related to companion animals was also strengthened to include “anxiety.” Penalties for offences under the Act increased.

As part of the regulatory process, government will add Act infractions to the list of summary offence tickets. This would allow the SPCA and other enforcement officials to issue tickets for a defined set of infractions under the Act including not adhering to the new standards of care, tethering an animal longer than 12 hours per day and transporting a companion animal unsafely in the back of a truck.

After public consultation in the fall of 2013, a decision was made to expand the focus of the regulations to include cats.

Draft Standards of Care:

The following draft Standards of Care address key issues brought up by stakeholders including: tethering, general care, outdoor care, shelters, animal pens or enclosures, abandonment of companion animals as well as the transportation of animals and the sale of animals.

Please feel free to review the draft Standards of Care PDF. Public feedback has been gathered throughout the month of March and is currently being assessed.

Our goal is to have the new Animal Protection Act regulations and standards of care in place in the Fall of 2014.