Ontario Federation of Agriculture Commentary
By Crispin Colvin, OFA Director
A new temporary solution to respond to animal protection issues in Ontario was announced last week by the Solicitor General. To fill the gaps left by the withdrawal of Ontario Society for the Prevention of Animals (OSPCA) in April 2019 – and its animal protection investigative and enforcement services – the Ontario government has created a new model as they transition to a new animal protection system.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), along with Ontario’s livestock and poultry organizations, has been working closely with the Solicitor General’s office to develop a temporary and the long-term model for animal protection investigation and enforcement in the province. We’ve been pleased with our successful working relationship and the development of this interim animal protection model.
The interim model will be overseen by Chief Inspector Paula Milne, a 25-year OPP veteran, and supported by a team of inspectors with expertise in livestock and agriculture, horses, zoos and aquariums. Under the new model, Ontario’s agricultural commodity organizations will continue to work with inspectors on farm inspection cases to provide expertise to remedy any situations encountered.
The new temporary Ontario animal protection model includes:
· A new toll-free number available 24/7 to report animal welfare concerns: 1-833-9ANIMAL (1-833-926-4625)
· An interim chief inspector, appointed by the Solicitor General, to provide leadership on animal protection in the province
· New temporary animal welfare inspectors, many from local humane societies and Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), appointed by the chief inspector
New animal protection legislation is still being developed and is expected to be introduced to the Ontario legislature when it resumes in October. In the meantime, Ontario’s Solicitor General, Sylvia Jones has assured Ontario’s agricultural industry that she remains committed to consulting with the livestock and poultry sectors throughout this transition and through the development of final animal protection regulations. OFA will continue working closely with the Solicitor General, agricultural industry representatives and animal care stakeholders as the legislation is developed.
For now, Ontario has a temporary process for animal protection in place that includes agricultural experts and resources as we work together to finalize a new plan for our province.