Later this week, it will be an offence under Ontario law to “stop, obstruct, hinder or otherwise interfere with a motor vehicle transporting farm animals.”
Ontario’s government has proclaimed Section 6(1) and three other related sections of Bill 156, the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020.
These proclamations will ensure the safety and security of the public and the provincial food supply while protecting the right for people to participate in lawful protests on public property, the government says.
“Stopping motor vehicles in traffic when they are transporting farm animals is dangerous for everyone, including those who stop the trucks, pedestrians, livestock transporters and other drivers,” says Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).
These select sections of the act will come into effect on September 2, 2020.
Earlier this summer, an animal rights extremist was struck and killed by a livestock hauler while she was protesting at a hog processing plant in Burlington, Ontario. The driver was charged with careless driving causing death, a non-criminal charge.
The proclamation of sections 6(1), 7, 14(1) 3 and 15(1) of the Security from Trespass and Protection of Food Safety Act, 2020 will make it an offence to stop, obstruct, hinder or otherwise interfere with a motor vehicle transporting farm animals.
A Proclamation is an official declaration by the Lieutenant Governor in Council of when an Act, or part of it, will come into effect and be operational. Under the Act, enforcement will be undertaken by police officers. Offences will be prosecuted by Crown Attorneys.
Fines of up to $15,000 for a first offence and up to $25,000 for subsequent offences can be levied under the Act.
In addition to announcing these proclamations, OMAFRA says it has launched consultations on the remaining parts of the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act. The public can now provide input into a potential Minister’s Regulation by visiting Ontario’s Regulatory Registry until October 15, 2020.
“The rights of people to participate in legal protests that take place in public spaces will always be protected, provided such protests do not have the potential to cause harm. Careful work was put into crafting this act to balance the rights of farmers and their farm
operations as well as the rights for people to participate in lawful protests on public property,” Hardeman says.