“We have been woefully under-resourced to provide legislation enforcement.”
Ontario’s animal welfare agency will no longer enforce or even investigate animal cruelty cases – signalling they will not sign a new contract with the Province.
The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals informed Community Safety Minister Sylvia Jones Monday they will not renew with the Province once the 100-year-old piece of legislation called the OSPCA Act, expires at the end of March.
The OSPCA has offered a three-month transition phase – which would see them continue offering their services until June 28th.
Ontario SPCA & Humane Society recommended a new model
“We want to see a system in place that provides maximum protection for animals,” said CEO Kate MacDonald in a media release. 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.”
Related: Finding Them Homes
“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,” says MacDonald.
The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society instead have offered a new operational model that focuses on supplying animal-related expertise to the Ontario Government. They would essentially become a support service to enforcement agencies – which they say is similar to the ASPCA model in the South of the border.
The Backstory: Ontario Superior Court Judge Ruling
The changes come after the Ontario Superior Court Judge created a new legal principle, ruling it unconstitutional for the Province of Ontario to enact legislation that permits a private charity to have policing powers without government oversight. The Doug Ford Government is appealing that decision.
The Ontario SPCA say it will draft recommendations for a new Ontario Animal Protection Act. “These recommendations will assist the government in proclaiming legislation that will provide the maximum protection of animals. This work will recommend that Ontario create stronger regulations, establishing animals as sentient beings with their well-being, health and treatment protected under the law.”
“This work will allow us to keep pace with updated thinking regarding the value of animals and the social justice that we, and the public, see as a priority for animals,” says Brian Shiller, General Counsel, Ontario SPCA.