Regulation - Minister

Marine Mammals Standards of Care under the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act

Regulation Number(s):
Instrument Type:
Regulation - Minister
Bill or Act:
Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act
Summary of Decision:
Our new regulation under the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act sets out enhanced standards in areas such as nutrition, reproduction, light and noise exposure, water quality, enclosures and access to qualified veterinary care. The regulation also establishes administrative requirements to strengthen accountability through mandatory record keeping and enhancing animal management and care through the creation of an animal welfare committee, and individual animal welfare plans.

The regulation was enacted as of January 1st, 2016, and the comprehensive standards of care will come into force on May 1, 2016. Some standards, such as capital improvements, will be phased-in over two years to allow facilities time to make all necessary changes.
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
July 31, 2015
Summary of Proposal:
The Minister is proposing regulatory amendments under the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) Act. The amendments would set new standards of care and administrative requirements for keeping marine mammals in captivity.


In 2014, the Ministry received an expert report on the care and maintenance of marine mammals. The lead author of the report was Dr. David Rosen, a Research Associate at the University of British Columbia Marine Mammal Research Unit. The report concluded that ensuring the welfare of captive marine mammals presents unique challenges, and that current general animal welfare standards under the OSPCA Act are insufficient for these animals.

On May 28, 2015, the Ontario Legislature passed Bill 80, the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) Amendment Act, that:

• Immediately prohibited the possession and breeding of orcas in Ontario.
• Expanded the existing regulation-making authority under the OSPCA Act to allow the Minister to establish additional administrative requirements related to management, oversight practices, professional services, and collecting and disclosing information, intended to ensure the appropriate care of an animal.

New Regulatory Standards

From February to July 2015, the Ministry received advice through a technical advisory group composed of veterinarians, animal welfare groups, industry, and enforcement partners. The Ministry now seeks public input on proposed new standards of care and administrative requirements.

Following advice from experts, the Ministry has proposed requirements that are drawn from relevant sections of the Recommendations for the Care and Maintenance of Marine Mammals, published by the Canadian Council on Animal Care in December 2014. They have been adapted for enforceability, clarity and fit within the OSPCA Act Framework.

The proposed amendments would include the following categories of requirements for facilities that keep marine mammals in captivity:

• Animal Care standards to better ensure the wellbeing of marine mammals, through standards for water quality and testing; nutrition; reproduction; handling and transportation; light and noise exposure, enclosures, and social and environmental enrichment.

• Administrative requirements to promote accountability and transparency with the establishment of an Animal Welfare Committee and detailed Animal Management plans; requirements for information management and records keeping; access to a veterinarian; mandatory post mortem examinations; and protection during power loss or disruptions.

To allow facilities time to make the necessary changes, the Ministry is proposing phase-in periods specific to some new standards:

• Effective January 1, 2016: E.g. rules governing food and feeding, full-time veterinary care, information management and records, water quality requirements.

• Effective January 1, 2017: E.g., requirements for establishing an Animal Welfare Committee, developing and implementing an Animal Welfare Plan, light and noise exposure, making infrastructural changes.

Please see the attached regulation for details of the proposed new standards and requirements.

Please submit all comments in writing or email to the ministry on or before September 14, 2015.
Contact Address:
Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services

25 Grosvernor Street
18th Floor
Toronto ON M7A 1Y6
Effective Date:
January 1, 2016