TORONTO: The Ontario government has established an advisory table to further improve animal welfare across the province.
The advisory table is made up of a group of experts including veterinarians and animal advocates who will help develop regulations under the Provincial Animal Welfare Services (PAWS) Act.
The legislation, which came into force in January, includes the strongest penalties in Canada for people who neglect and abuse animals and established Ontario as the first jurisdiction in the country to create a fully provincially operated enforcement system.
“We have made Ontario the national leader in the protection of animals and are committed to building on the work we’ve already done,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.
“Having launched Canada’s first provincial government-based enforcement model, recruited inspectors and introduced the toughest penalties for animal abuse in the country, we will continue to work with our partners to ensure the best protection and support for animals. I look forward to hearing the advice of this table of experts.”
Members of the Provincial Animal Welfare Services (PAWS) Advisory include organizations representing multiple disciplines such as advocacy, industry, agriculture, sheltering, veterinarian care and enforcement.
The table will provide input to the ministry to help improve animal welfare including informing the development of new regulations under the PAWS Act.
• Concerns about animal distress or abuse can be reported to the Ontario Animal Protection
Call Centre at 1-833-9-ANIMAL (264625).
• Over 35,600 calls were received by the call centre from January 1 to September 30, 2020.
• In addition to establishing an advisory table to advise the ministry on ways to improve animal welfare, the Provincial Animal Welfare Services (PAWS) Act enables courts to impose the highest financial penalties for offenders in Canada and introduces new offences to combat activities such as dogfighting.
• The PAWS Act also establishes a one-window complaints mechanism for the public, and gives the province the ability to empower others, beyond inspectors, to take action when an animal is in imminent risk of serious injury or death when a pet is left in a hot car.