Animal Welfare Program

The Animal Welfare Program (formerly The Humane Inspection Program) protects the welfare of animals by ensuring compliance with The Animal Care Act. The program is run by the Chief Veterinary Office (CVO).

The CVO investigates reports of poor animal welfare in livestock and companion animals (for example, pets and horses). If criminal charges are warranted, the office assists Crown prosecutors. Yearly statistics are available below.

The investigation process

The CVO manages all of the reports of poor animal welfare. When a report is received, an Animal Protection Officer (APO) conducts an inspection to see whether the animal owner is complying with The Animal Care Act. The APO then recommends the appropriate action.

Potential results of an inspection

Dismissal: A concern is dismissed if the inspection produces no evidence of abuse or animals in distress.

Corrective action: For minor infractions, the APO outlines improvements the owner must make. A follow-up inspection is performed to ensure the owner has complied.

Seizure of animals: If there are reasonable grounds to believe animals are in distress, the APO may supply any care deemed necessary to relieve the distress. Under section 9(1) of the Act, the APO may also seize the animals, either immediately or at a later date. Seizure of animals is for the purpose of protecting the animals and relieving distress, and is not a form of punishment of the owner.

Charges under the act: If infractions to The Animal Care Act are discovered, the matter is investigated and charges may be filed. Charges may include:

  • Common Offence Notice (CON) / fines
  • Court prosecution

Yearly statistics

These reports show the number of cases filed, outcome of cases and species involved and the top five violations under The Animal Care Act of each year.

Learn more about