Humane Canada™ consulted on the language of Bill C-246, The Modernizing Animal Protections Act, a Private Member’s Bill introduced in the House of Commons on February 26, 2016, by Liberal Member of Parliament Nathaniel Erskine-Smith (Beaches-East York). This Bill aimed to close a number of loopholes in the current federal animal cruelty provisions. More often than not, it is these loopholes that allow chronic hoarders, repeat abusers, puppy mill operators and dog fighting perpetrators to get off with a slap on the wrist rather than an appropriate punishment.
At the heart of this bill was the proposed creation of a new offence for individuals who cause unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal through gross negligence of the animal’s welfare. The bill also promised to close the loopholes related to animal fighting by making it illegal to train, breed or convey animals for the purpose of fighting or profit from dog fighting. Unfortunately, Bill C-246 was defeated in the House of Commons on Wednesday, October 5, 2016.
Recently, attempts have been made to hold the Canadian government accountable for closing these legal loopholes through initiatives like e-petition e-718 (petition is now closed).
Below, you will find information on previous attempts to update Canada's federal animal cruelty provisions.
On June 9 2014, Liberal MP Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal) introduced Bill C-610, which would have created a new offence for the inadequate and negligent care of animals. The bill would have established it as an offence to negligently cause unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal or bird. It would have become an offence to willfully or recklessly abandon an animal or fail to provide suitable and adequate food, water, air, shelter, and care. It would have also punished those who negligently injure an animal or bird while it is being conveyed.
On April 9, 2014, the NDP MP Isabelle Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce – Lachine) took up the gauntlet again by introducing Bill C-592, which would have provided a better definition of "animal", defined intentions and acts of cruelty and set the higher penalties for those found guilty. C-592 reached second reading but did not become law.
Bill C-274 and C-277
On September 19, 2011, Liberal MP Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre) introduced Bills C-274 and C-277, which would have consolidated animal cruelty offences, created a new section in the Criminal Code of Canada for animal cruelty offences and increased the maximum penalties for animal abuse. Unfortunately, both bills died before becoming law.
Bill S-24, S-203 and S-213
In February 2005, Liberal Senator John Bryden from New Brunswick, tabled Bill S-24. This bill took the entire penalties section from the Liberal government bill, but made no changes to the offences. Humane Canada™ and other animal protection groups strongly opposed this bill. So did the Canadian public – a petition with almost 112,000 signatures was tabled in the House of Commons in 2007 opposing Senator Bryden’s bill. The introduction of this bill changed things dramatically, as most industry groups supported the Senator’s bill. This bill also fell victim to parliamentary prorogation three times, but Senator Bryden retabled it as Bill S-203 and then S-213. The latter ultimately passed through the Senate and the House and was enacted in June 2008.
In December 1999, then Justice Minister Anne McLellan tabled Bill C-17 in the House of Commons. Bill C-17 died shortly after it was introduced due to an election being called early in 2000. Over the next several years, the Liberal government repeatedly brought the bill forward, but it repeatedly died due to prorogation of Parliament. The bill was named Bill C-15, C-15B, C-10, C-10B, C-22 and C-50. In 2003, Bill C-10B came extremely close to passing and was supported by all parties in the House, but the Senate blocked its passage.
Once the Conservative Party was in power, Member of Parliament Mark Holland brought forward a private member’s bill in October 2006 that was virtually identical to Bill C-50. Mr. Holland retabled his Bill repeatedly as it died with prorogation. In addition, the NDP tabled its own bill, C-558, in June 2008. Neither became law.
We invest today in animal welfare to make change happen in this generation.
Women for Humane Canada believes in the power of making change happen for animals. That is why we are joining forces with like-minded women across Canada – women who are thought leaders in animal welfare and willing to invest in change. We need to improve the laws, improve enforcement and elevate public thinking about the role of animals in society.
Did you know that the welfare of animals has a direct link to the welfare of women and children?
Did you know that violence against animals is a societal issue linked to violence against women and children?
In fact, animal abuse is an early indicator of potential child and woman abuse. If we can effectively prosecute animal neglect and cruelty, we may also succeed at preventing future human tragedies. We need to get at these core issues as a society in order to make real change happen and create a better Canada for all of us.
Why Women for Humane Canada?
You may not know that, across Canada, women fill more than 70% of the leadership positions in animal welfare organizations, and they represent the largest group of donors.
We know what we want to achieve, but we need bigger thinking and bolder ambitions to get animal welfare on the national agenda. We are committed to investing in this future by developing Canadian animal welfare indicators, which will measure progress on issues of concern in Canada. These will help to determine current welfare gaps and guide our goal of creating a life worth living for all animals.
Women for Humane Canada is the Leadership Giving Circle of Humane Canada. Your donation of $1,200.00 can be done in one contribution or monthly.
Join Women for Humane Canada as we come together to share thinking, invest our time and talent, build financial resources and make a real impact on the lives of animals ... start today.
Find out more today. Download our information package or email Derek deLouché, Director of Resource Development, Humane Canada, or call (613) 224-8072 ext. 17.
2019 has so far been a good year for animals and your generosity makes this possible. Over the summer, Canadians celebrated the passing of three new animal welfare bills. This signals a significant shift in the way we think about the legal framework that governs animal protection. We are now engaged in making sure animal welfare is on the minds of a new federal government but we need your help.
A gift of just $5 each month will provide the steady funding that fuels Humane Canada's ongoing action for animals. Will you give to help Canada's animals?
This is your opportunity to #BeTheMovement for #HumaneCanada. Join Canadians just like you who believe in positive, progressive change for animals. A humane nation is within our grasp, but it will take all of us standing together as one big community to make it happen.
In order to improve the welfare of companion animals, the animal welfare community and the public at large need to know the number of animals in shelters and what the outcome is for these animals after they are admitted.
Humane Canada™, formerly known as the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, gathers data on the number of animals entering humane society and SPCA shelters as well as the numbers adopted, returned to their owners or euthanized. This information provides a national picture of the important role shelters play in their communities.
Humane Canada's™ Canadian Animal Shelter Statistics represent the best available information about companion animals in Canadian shelters. Reports from 2017 and earlier are available for download below, along with a year-by-year comparison document that shows sheltering trends over time.
Click on the images below to download our reports.
2017 Canadian Animal Shelter Statistics Report
Note that the 2016 Canadian Animal Shelter Statistics were published in our most recent Cats in Canada report, which you can find here. The report includes statistics on both cats and dogs.
2015 Canadian Animal Shelter Statistics Report
2014 Canadian Animal Shelter Statistics Report
2013 Canadian Animal Shelter Statistics Report
2012 Canadian Animal Shelter Statistics Report
Download this yearly comparison document to see upward and downward trends in Canadian sheltering outcomes for cats and dogs over the years.
Halloween is a fun time of year for humans, but it isn't always the case for pets. A parade of strangers in even stranger outfits ringing the doorbell can cause anxiety, and there are a number of threats to them – human and otherwise – on Halloween night.
Follow these safety tips below for a safer and happier Halloween for your pets.
Keep your pets away from chocolate. Between visitors, store these treats where your pets can't reach them. Even in minuscule doses, ingesting chocolate can be fatal to cats and dogs. Make sure the kids in your life know not to share their treats with their furry friends!
Candies and candy wrappers are also unsafe for cats and dogs. An artificial sweetener called xylitol is a common ingredient in candy, and it's poisonous for most animals. Wrappers can also be a threat to pets, causing life-threatening bowel obstructions if ingested.
- Some people choose to give out boxes of raisins at Halloween as a healthier alternative to candy. This is a great idea for trick-or-treaters, but they are very poisonous for dogs and must be kept out of their reach. Same thing for grapes! Both are toxic for canines.
Want to offer pet-friendly treats for your furbabies on Halloween night? Consider wet food, extra-moist chewy cat treats, dog biscuits with peanut butter on top, unsalted and unbuttered popcorn, fruit or carrots. They'll love you for thinking of them, and it will help to distract them from human treats!
Keep a close eye on wires or cords for decorative lights – many dogs and cats like to chew on them and could suffer serious injuries as a result of the electrical current. Either tuck the cords behind furniture where they can't be reached, or watch your pets closely.
- Cats are drawn to anything interesting that they can chew, so glowsticks pose a threat to your feline friends. While eating glowsticks is not usually fatal for cats, it causes them great pain and irritation, as well as excessive drooling and foaming at the mouth. Put them away in a drawer or on a high shelf when not wearing them.
- In case your pets do make a break for it on Halloween night, ensure that they all have proper, up-to-date ID tags and/or a microchip in time for Halloween. If your beloved pet escapes and becomes lost, these forms of ID are the best way for people to know how to reunite you.
All the noise and activity of Halloween can trigger anxiety responses in pets – it's best to keep your furry companions in a quiet, closed room or covered crate during trick-or-treating hours so they don't get agitated or run out the open door. Consider a TV or some calming music to mask all the noise, and talk to the kids in your life about not scaring, harassing or otherwise abusing animals on Halloween.
- Pet costumes. Take note if your pets are resisting dress-up time – if so, respect their preference not to wear a costume. Show your furbabies how much you love them by avoiding these additional stresses on an already stressful night and try a thematic collar or bandanna instead. If you're absolutely certain that your animals don't mind getting dressed up for Halloween, make sure that there are no dangly items like bells or buttons on their costumes that they may potentially choke on. Same goes for children's costumes – animals like to attack dangly things. And remember that your pets may not recognize you in costume!
These national standards for Canadian animal shelters provide guidance on recommended practices for all aspects of care to ensure that the needs of animals in shelter settings will be met and that the animals will be treated humanely.
In 2013, Humane Canada™ brought together animal shelter thought leaders and stakeholders from across the country to establish Canadian shelter standards. The group accepted the principles of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians' (ASV) Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters as a foundational document and contextualized the document for use in Canada.
The following documents are available for download:
Canadian Standards of Care in Animal Shelters - English
Canadian Standards of Care in Animal Shelters - French
The relationship between violence against people and animals is commonly known as the Violence Link. Evidence-based research shows that violence against animals and violence against people are not distinct or separate problems. Rather, they are part of a larger pattern of violent crimes that often co-exist. Cases of partner abuse, gang violence, youth crime, assault, homicide, sexual assault and child abuse also commonly include animal abuse.
The Canadian Violence Link Coalition (CVLC) was formed in 2018 as a result of issues brought forward at Humane Canada’s 2017 Canadian Violence Link Conference. The Coalition is committed to advance awareness, education and training about the link between violence against humans and violence against animals. The Coalition's goal is to introduce violence prevention and intervention strategies across the country and to establish policies and practices that make our communities safer.
Members of the Canadian Violence Coalition Coordinating Committee
Barbara Cartwright – Chief Executive Officer, Humane Canada
Tracy Porteous – Executive Director, Ending Violence Association of BC
Marcie Moriarty – Chief Prevention and Enforcement Officer, BC SPCA
Dallas Mack – Ontario Crown Counsel
Destiny Bedwell – Communications and Marketing Coordinator, Ontario 211 Service
Teena Stoddart – Sergeant, Ottawa Police Service
Dr. Andrew Sparling, DVM – Board Member, Ontario Veterinary Medical Association
Christine Hartig – Strategic Support Officer, By-law and Regulatory Services, City of Ottawa
Kaitlin Bardswich – Communications and Development Coordinator, Women’s Shelters Canada
Dayna Desmarais – President, SafePet Ottawa
Frances Wach – Executive Director, Saskatchewan SPCA
Michael Kelen – Retired Judge
Michelle Lem - Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
Kathy Powelson - Executive Director, Paws for Hope Animal Foundation
Canadian Violence Link Coalition Projects Underway:
- Violence Link Training for police officers across the country
- An amendment to section 160 of the Criminal Code of Canada (bestiality)
- Amending ViCLAS book to add animal abuse questions
- Amending threat assessment questionnaires to add animal abuse questions
- The National Centre for the Prosecution of Animal Cruelty’s 2018 Crown prosecutor training
- Host the 2019 Canadian Violence Link Conference in Toronto
- Judicial training on the Violence Link, spearheaded by The Honourable Justice Michael A. Kelen (retired)
- Animal abuse statistics recorded by Statistics Canada (police statistics)