Animal Shelter Ownership Authority under the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act, 2019
O. Reg. 447/19 - Ministerial Prescriptions
Regulation - Minister
Bill or Act:
Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act, 2019
Summary of Decision:
Effective September 8, 2021, three types of entities, as listed in O. Reg. 447/19, can take ownership of found, abandoned and unclaimed animals in accordance with section 62 of the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act, 2019 (PAWS Act). These include:
Registered charities whose purposes include or are consistent with offering animal sheltering services;
Entities who have a contractual arrangement with a municipality to deliver animal sheltering services.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
No new administrative costs are anticipated with the regulation. As with any new regulation or legislation, there might be costs associated with any organization having to learn about the updated regulation.
June 23, 2021
Summary of Proposal:
On January 1, 2020, the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act, 2019 (PAWS Act) came into force, repealing and replacing the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Through the PAWS Act, Ontario:
Enabled a fully provincial government-based enforcement model.
Enabled courts to impose the strongest financial penalties for offenders in Canada.
Updated prohibitions and obligations, such as prohibiting harming or attempting to harm a service animal.
Established a process for members of the public to make complaints about the conduct of inspectors that offers increased transparency and accountability.
Certain provisions were included in regulations under the PAWS Act at the time it came into force that were intended to support transition.
One of these provisions is subsection 6(1) of O. Reg. 447/19 - Ministerial Prescriptions under the PAWS Act, which currently lists the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) and affiliated Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCAs) and humane societies as prescribed organizations that can assume ownership of animals after certain conditions are met (see below). The authority to become an animal's legal owner under this provision enables an animal shelter to make decisions regarding the care of animals, such as finding longer-term housing (e.g., adoption) for the animal.
Under s. 62 of the PAWS Act, certain prescribed organizations that operate an animal shelter are deemed to be owners of animals they take into their custody, if:
(a) no person is identified as the animal's owner or custodian within a prescribed period of time of 5 business days (e.g., the animal is found); or
(b) the owner or custodian of the animal has not claimed the animal within a prescribed period of time of 5 business days (e.g., the animal is unclaimed or abandoned).
The Ministry of the Solicitor General (SolGen) is proposing to modify the list of prescribed organizations in O. Reg. 447/19 that can assume ownership of animals where the owner or custodian of the animal is not identified or has not claimed the animal. This is to provide these animal sheltering organizations and the public with clarity and consistency in who can take ownership of found, abandoned or unclaimed animals and to support animal sheltering organizations in Ontario who require this authority to effectively perform their work.
The proposed amendment to O. Reg. 447/19 under the PAWS Act would prescribe the following classes of entities for the purpose of s. 62:
1. Registered charities whose charitable purposes include or are consistent with offering animal sheltering services;
2. Municipalities; and
3. Entities with a contractual arrangement with a municipality respecting the provision of animal sheltering.
If approved, this regulatory amendment would change which animal shelters in Ontario would have the authority under s. 62 available to them.
For more detail, please see the attached draft regulation.
SolGen welcomes your comments and feedback.
Ministry of the Solicitor General
25 Grosvenor Street
September 8, 2021