GUELPH: The Ontario government has announced the proclamation of the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020, effective December 5, 2020.
The Act will protect Ontario’s food supply chain, from farm to table, without infringing on the right to peacefully protest and, in conjunction with the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act (PAWS), 2019, ensure animals are protected and cared for.
The Act demonstrates to trespassers, activists, law enforcement and the Ontario justice system that the protection of farms, families, agri-food employees, animals and the food system is of the highest priority.
The Act strikes a balance in enhancing the safety and protection of the farming and food industry while recognizing and respecting a citizen’s rights to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Ontario’s farm and commodity organizations said they are aligned in having zero tolerance for animal abuse.
Concerns around animal abuse, and the ability and obligation to report such actions are entrenched within the PAWS Act. Farmers are highly regulated, following strict codes of conduct to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all farm animals.
Animal welfare is integral to the care they provide for their animals.
The agri-food industry in Ontario contributes more than $47 billion to the province’s annual GDP and employs more than 860,000 Ontarians.
Workers across agriculture and the food sector — including farmers and farm workers, transporters, abattoirs, processing plant employees, food service and retail outlets — have experienced threats from activists seeking to end their industry.
These events pose risks to human and animal health and threaten the integrity of the food system.