Provincial laws

Region: Ontario Answer # 4002

All Canadian provinces and territories have animal protection legislation. The laws vary from province to province, but generally cover:

  • Specific animal welfare issues;
  • Protection provided;
  • Manner and degree of enforcement of the laws; and
  • Ministry / department responsible for enforcing the laws

Some of the offences set out in the provincial legislation are also considered criminal and are set out in the Criminal Code. Although some of the provincial laws overlap with the Criminal Code, the provincial laws generally provide stronger protections for animals and cover more and broader issues. Also, provincial laws are more detailed, covering such things as standards of care and responsibility for animal owners. Provincial laws may also exist that deal with specific animals, such as Fish and Wildlife Acts. There are also often regulations governing hunting and trapping of animals.

In cases of animal abuse, enforcement officials may choose to lay charges under the provincial law, the Criminal Code, or both. However, since most provincial laws provide stronger and more comprehensive animal protection laws, enforcement officers more often choose to lay charges under the provincial statute rather than the Criminal Code.

Provincial legislation


British Columbia


New Brunswick

Newfoundland and Labrador

Northwest Territories

Nova Scotia



Prince Edward Island




To find out more about enforcement of the various laws above, contact the provincial or local SPCA or humane society for the jurisdiction in question.


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