Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services :: Improved Animal Welfare

Animal Welfare

Cruelty to animals will not be tolerated in Ontario


The Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services administers the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. The Act allows the Society to "facilitate and provide for the prevention of cruelty to animals and their protection and relief therefrom".


The OSPCA is an independent, charitable organization. OSPCA-trained and approved inspectors and agents have the authority to enforce any law in force in Ontario that pertains to animal welfare. If you have any information about suspected cruelty to animals, please contact the OSPCA.

Under the Act, an OSPCA inspector or agent can issue a compliance order, which requires an animal owner to take remedial action to relieve an animal's distress, or an animal may be removed from its owner for the purpose of relieving its distress.

Go to the OSPCA website.

Animal Care Review Board

The OSPCA Act also establishes the Animal Care Review Board (ACRB) to which appeals can be made of OSPCA compliance orders and animal removals.

An appeal of a compliance order or animal removal must be made within five (5) days of receiving the compliance order or notice of removal. An appeal should state concisely why the matter is being appealed and request a remedy to the situation. If the appeal is accepted by the ACRB, a hearing will be scheduled for not more than ten (10) days after the receipt of the appeal, by the Board.

For more information or general enquiries about the ACRB: General information

To contact the ACRB Registrar, including filing a notice of appeal: Registrar

If you are interested in serving on the Animal Care Review Board, please go to the Public Appointments Secretariat to see if applications for membership are currently being accepted.

Other components of Ontario's animal welfare system

Other provincial ministries administer legislation that can affect animal welfare. For example:

Municipal bylaws

Under the Municipal Act, 2001, municipalities have the authority to enact by-laws that pertain to animals including animal control. "Animal control" pertains to the protection of the public while "animal welfare" pertains to the protection of animals. For more information about local bylaws, please contact your municipality.

Federal laws

There are provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada that address acts of cruelty to animals. In addition, there are federal laws regarding various animal-related items such as livestock transportation and the importation of certain species.