OSPCA gets out of animal welfare enforcement

The Ontario SPCA’s (OSPCA) contract is set to expire at the end of the month, and the organization has informed the government it will no longer enforce the animal welfare legislation in the province of Ontario at that time. The OSPCA has offered a three-month transition phase of the current working arrangement that could see the charity continue service until just before the end of June.

“We want to see a system in place that provides maximum protection for animals. The Ontario SPCA is a 146-year-old animal charity. Our expertise, working as a support service to enforcement agencies, will be a powerful combination in enforcement and we believe the right combination to best protect animals,” says Kate MacDonald, CEO of the OSPCA.

According to a news release, the OSPCA and Humane Society are offering the Ontario Government a new operational model where it supplies animal-related expertise to the government as a support service to enforcement agencies, similar to the ASPCA model in the United States.

Recently, an Ontario Superior Court Judge created a new legal principle and ruled that it is unconstitutional for the Province of Ontario to enact legislation that permits a private charity to have policing powers without government oversight. The OSPCA says they took no part in the court case and that the Government of Ontario is appealing that court decision.

“Enforcement is the responsibility of government, one that we can confidently support by offering animal protection services to enforcement agencies. Being an outside agency, we have been woefully under-resourced to provide legislation enforcement. We have struggled to meet the need and have struggled with both Officer safety and, at times, conflicts with our charitable mission. It is simply not in the interests of animals or this charity to continue along the same path,” MacDonald adds.

The OSPCA will now draft its recommendations for a new Ontario Animal Protection Act as the current one is more than 100-years-old. The recommendations will assist the government to provide the maximum protection of animals, stronger regulations, establishing animals as sentient beings with their well-being, health, and treatment protected under the law.

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