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Ontario Passes Strict New Animal Welfare Law

The Province of Ontario has passed new legislation that will see it have the strictest penalties in Canada when it comes to animal welfare.

OXFORD COUNTY - The Ontario Government has passed new legislation designed to better protect animals. 

Solicitor General Sylvia Jones says once in force, Ontario will have the strongest penalties in Canada for people who violate the new law. 

"I am proud to say we have followed through on our commitment to deliver a modern animal welfare system.Ontario is now a leader in Canada when it comes to protecting animals, especially when it comes to penalties for offenders."

The new system comes into force on January 1, 2020 and will improve animal welfare across the province by:

- Implementing a new enforcement model, including provincial inspectors to provide province-wide coverage, and inspectors with specialized expertise in livestock, zoos, aquariums and equines.

- Updating prohibitions and obligations, such as barring the return of dog fighting equipment to a person convicted of an offence as well as increasing penalties for offences.

- Enabling inspectors to enter motor vehicles to help pets in critical distress in extreme weather conditions.

- Establishing new oversight provisions of inspectors that offer increased transparency and accountability, as well as a one-window complaints mechanism for the public.

- Establishing a multi-disciplinary advisory table made up of a wide range of experts, including veterinarians, agriculture representatives, academics, animal advocates and others to provide ongoing advice to the ministry. 

Parliamentary Assistant Christine Hogarth says Ontario is setting the bar for other provinces when it comes to a modern animal welfare system.

"Our government has said how committed we are to the well-being of animals and we have proven our commitment by passing this new legislation."

This new animal welfare system was developed based on input from municipalities, police, industry, technical experts, veterinarian organizations, advocacy organizations, and the public. The government will continue to work with partners to ensure the best protection and support for animals.

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