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Provincial and territorial legislation concerning farm animal welfare

This page is part of the Guidance Document Repository (GDR).

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Canadian provinces have the primary responsibility for protecting the welfare of animals, including farm animals and pets. All provinces and territories have laws in respect to animal welfare. Provincial and territorial legislation tend to be general in scope, covering a wide range of animal welfare interests. Some provinces and territories have regulations that govern specific aspects of animal welfare, or are related to certain species.

The CFIA's animal welfare mandate is limited to regulating humane transportation of animals and the humane treatment of food animals in federal abattoirs.

The Criminal Code of Canada prohibits anyone from willfully causing animals to suffer from neglect, pain or injury. The Criminal Code is enforced by police services, provincial and territorial Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and/or provincial and territorial ministries of agriculture.

The roles of the provinces and territories are described below.

Alberta

The following acts and regulations provide protection for farm animals in Alberta.

  • Animal Protection Act and Animal Protection Regulation
    • applies to all animals during any activity, excluding generally accepted practices of animal management, husbandry and slaughter
    • enforced by Peace Officers with an appointment issued by the Solicitor General's office for the Animal Protection Act, Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers and members of municipal police services
  • Meat Inspection Act and Meat Inspection Regulation
    • applies to the slaughter of animals where the meat is intended for human consumption excluding the slaughter of a producer's own animals for consumption by their household
    • enforced by police officers and inspectors designated by the Ministry of Agriculture
  • Livestock Industry Diversification Act and Livestock Industry Diversification (Ministerial Regulation)
    • provides the facility, registration, and tracking requirements for farmed cervids, and the standards for velvet antler removal
    • enforced by inspectors designated by the Ministry of Agriculture
British Columbia

The following acts and regulations provide protection for farm animals in British Columbia.

Manitoba

The following acts and regulations provide protection for farm animals in Manitoba.

  • Animal Care Act and Animal Care Regulation - PDF (126 kb)
    • apply to most farm animals during all activities including transport, excluding generally accepted practices
    • enforced by the Office of the Chief Veterinarian, special animal protection officers and police officers
New Brunswick

The following acts and regulations provide protection for farm animals in New Brunswick.

Newfoundland and Labrador

The following acts and regulations provide protection for farm animals in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Nova Scotia

The following acts and regulations provide protection for farm animals in Nova Scotia.

  • Animal Health and Protection Act
    • addresses destroying diseased animals, quarantine, vaccination, and testing
    • enforced by inspectors designated by the Ministry of Agriculture
  • Animal Protection Act
    • protects all animals during any activity, excluding generally accepted practices of animal management husbandry or slaughter
    • enforced by inspectors designated by the Ministry of Agriculture
  • Meat Inspection Act/Regulations Respecting Slaughter
    • protect most farm animals during slaughter
    • enforced by inspectors designated by the Ministry of Agriculture
  • Baby Chick Protection Act
    • prohibits displaying or selling artificially coloured living chickens
    • enforced by the Department of Agriculture
Northwest Territories

The following acts and regulations provide protection for farm animals in the Northwest Territories.

Nunavut

The following acts and regulations provide protection for farm animals in Nunavut.

  • Herd and Fencing Act
    • protects most farm animals during housing (fencing)
    • enforced by officers appointed by the Commissioner
Ontario

The following acts and regulations provide protection for farm animals in Ontario.

Prince Edward Island

The following acts and regulations provide protection for farm animals in Prince Edward Island.

Quebec

The following acts and regulations provide protection for farm animals in Quebec.

Saskatchewan

The following acts and regulations provide protection for farm animals in Saskatchewan.

  • The Animal Protection Act, 2018 and Animal Protection Regulations, 2018
    • protects all animals from being in distress
    • covers animal care duties and prohibited activity
    • protection of service animals, and protection of certain animals against dogs
    • appointment and powers of animal protection agencies, and animal protection officers
  • The Animal Health Act and Animal Health Regulations
    • covers animal health and the prevention, control, and eradication of diseases among animals
    • authority for establishing animal health programs, biosecurity measures, quarantine orders, surveillance zone orders and establishing reportable and notifiable disease lists
  • The Stray Animals Act and Stray Animals Regulations, 1999
    • livestock specific (not cats and dogs)
    • gives local governments the authority to pass bylaws to address stray animals, including locations of pounds, and appointment of pound keepers
    • outlines rules for the restraint and impoundment of animals, and requires the finder to provide food and shelter for the stray animal
  • The Animal Products Act
    • protects any farm animal, including fertilized ova, fish, and bees during production, manufacture, sale, purchase and transport. Various parts of this process are covered under multiple regulations
      • The Livestock Dealer Regulations, 1995
      • The Livestock Inspection and Transportation Regulations, 1978
      • The Animal Custom Care Regulations, 2006
      • The Saskatchewan Egg Regulations, 2010
      • The Fur Farming Regulations, 2017
      • The Meat Inspection (Saskatchewan) Regulations
      • The Domestic Game Farm Animal Regulations
      • The Premises Identification Regulations
      • The Milk Products Compositional Standards Regulations, 2014
Yukon

The following act provides protection for farm animals in Yukon.

  • Animal Protection Act - PDF (308 kb)
    • protects all farm animals from distress and cruelty during any activity
    • enforced by the Yukon Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and police officers
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