Regulation - Minister

Proposed Amendments to Ontario Regulation 701/20 - General, made under the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020

Regulation Number(s):
O. Reg. 701/20
Instrument Type:
Regulation - Minister
Bill or Act:
Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act
Summary of Proposal:
On April 2, 2024, the Superior Court of Justice (Court) released its decision in Animal Justice et al. v. The Attorney General of Ontario). The Court upheld the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act (Act) in its entirety, meaning that the Act remains completely constitutional, however the Court declared that s. 9, 11(1)(c), 11(1)(d), 12(1)(d), 12(1)(e), 12(2)(a)(i), 12(2)(a)(ii) and 12(2)(c) of O. Reg 701/20 to be unjustifiable infringements of s. 2(b) (freedom of expression) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) and struck those provisions down. The Court, however temporarily suspended its decision.

The proposed amendments to O. Reg. 701/20 (regulation), all of which reflect the original policy intent underlying the making of the regulation, would, if approved:

• Clarify that the definition of "harm to a farm animal" does not include anything arising from the handling of those farm animals done in accordance with what the individual reasonably believes to be generally accepted agricultural practices.

• Add a section to the regulation which clarifies that animals used in petting zoos or circuses are not farm animals.

• Add a section to the regulation which would set out consent is obtained under false pretences if the person falsely represents: (a) they have a legal right to be on the property or to stop a motor vehicle transporting farm animals by virtue of their employment, a contract or their status; (b) their willingness to abide by the owner, occupier or driver's directions with respect to biosecurity, animal health and safety, human health and safety or food safety; or (c) in the case of a contractor or service provider, that they possess qualifications necessary to carry out their tasks on premises or in relation to farm animals being transported by motor vehicles in a manner that would not cause harm to farm animals, harm to an individual or harm with respect to food safety.

• Clarify that "harm to an individual" under s. 11(1)(d) does not include a journalist's publication of the story or their mere presence on the premises or with the motor vehicle transporting farm animals because of the false pretences.

• Clarify under s. 11(1)(e) that a journalist must leave the property when asked to do so and will not lose their exception if they leave when asked to do so.

• Clarify under s. 12(1)(c) a whistleblower only needs to find some type of "harm" or illegal activity, including any pattern thereof, while operating under false pretences.

• Clarify under s. 12(1)(d) the requirement for a whistleblower to report harm as soon as practicable includes a reasonable amount of time before having to report any "harms" to an authority as well as make it clear whistleblowers can report any "harms" anonymously.

• Clarify under s. 12(2)(c) that a whistleblower must leave the property when asked to do so and will not lose their exception if they leave when asked to do so.

• Clarify that "harm to an individual" under ss. 12(2)(a)(i) and 12(2)(a)(ii) does not include any harm from a whistleblower's reporting of what they found or their mere presence on the premises or with the motor vehicle transporting farm animals because of the false pretences.

OMAFRA is seeking your input on the above-proposed amendments to the regulation. This is your opportunity to help OMAFRA ensure that any amendments that the OMAFRA Minister may make to the regulation are clear, reasonable and strike an appropriate balance between protecting farm animals and those employed in animal-based agriculture and the rights and freedoms protected by the Charter.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
N/A
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
24-OMAFRA011
Posting Date:
May 17, 2024
Comments Due Date:
June 17, 2024
Contact Address:
Branch: Economic Development Policy Branch
Address: 1 Stone Road West Guelph
Comment on this proposal via email