An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals)

This bill was last introduced in the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in September 2008.


This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law)Government Orders

June 11th, 2015 / 4:50 p.m.
See context


Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, I listened to my colleague from Toronto—Danforth with great interest as he asked by other colleague the question.

Again, the reason animal rights legislation over the last decade has been so strongly resisted by millions of Canadians from the animal use community, from the medical research world, the hunters, the anglers, the trappers, and I represent a natural resource constituency, is the extreme damage that the animal rights agenda has done to communities. Lives, families and communities have been destroyed because of that kind of advocacy. One only needs to look at the Inuit sealing community.

It is extremely difficult to deal with legislation like this. The legislation that I looked at in a previous life, specifically Bill C-15B, opened the door to prosecution of legitimate animal use. I would also note, as I said in my earlier remark, we already have Bill S-203, which greatly increases the penalties for cruelty to animals. Why does my colleague opposite support the animal rights agenda?

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law)Government Orders

June 11th, 2015 / 4:05 p.m.
See context


Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, it was a government bill at the time. I fought that bill all the way along with the entire animal-use community in this country. Thankfully, in 2006, there was a change of government and Bill C-15B died on the order paper.

What Bill C-15B would have done was open up traditional animal uses to legislative interference by third-party groups, and that is why Bill S-203 was resoundingly passed in the House, primarily by Conservatives, and has the characteristic of criminalizing and penalizing egregious animal cruelty, something we all support. Egregious, deliberate animal cruelty must be condemned and criminalized, but at the same time, Canada's traditional, historic animal-use practices must be defended and, equally important, our medical research community, which depends so much on animal-based research, must be protected from harm so it can continue to do its important work for all of us.

That is why the Conservative hunting and angling caucus, of which I am chair, is making sure that the entire sustainable animal-use community in this country will know exactly where all the parties stand in terms of the use of animals.

I would like to express my complete support for Bill C-35, the justice for animals in service act, which I believe would contribute in a meaningful way to achieving our government's goal of making Canadian communities safer. This proposed reform supports the October 16, 2013, Speech from the Throne commitment to bring forward Quanto's law, to recognize that animals used in law enforcement are put at risk while assisting police in enforcing the law and protecting society. I was extremely pleased that the scope of the proposed legislation was expanded to also apply to other service animals, which also play an important role in making it possible for persons with disabilities to lead independent lives.

I am also very pleased to note that the bill proposes to enhance the punishment of persons who commit an assault on a police officer or certain other law enforcement officers. It would do so by requiring that a sentence imposed for any type of assault on a law enforcement officer, whether a common assault, an assault causing bodily harm, an assault with a weapon, or an aggravated assault, would be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed on the offender arising out of the same event.

I would now like to walk through Bill C-35 and compare it with the existing general offence of cruelty animals in section 445 of the Criminal Code. The proposed section 445.01 would create a new hybrid Criminal Code offence that is distinct from the general offence of cruelty to animals in section 445 of the Criminal Code. The classifications of animals that this would apply to are:

...a law enforcement animal while it is aiding a law enforcement officer in carrying out that officer’s duties, a military animal while it is aiding a member of the Canadian Forces in carrying out that member’s duties or a service animal.

This legislation clearly defines the prohibited conduct captured by the new offence. It would be an offence under the proposed legislation to kill, maim, wound, poison, or injure one of those animals. The legislation clearly defines the necessary mental element that must exist at the time of the commission of the offence. An offender convicted of the proposed offence would be subject to a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment when the offence is prosecuted on indictment and 18 months imprisonment and/or a $10,000 fine when the offence is prosecuted on summary conviction. These are the same maximum penalties as in section 445 of the Criminal Code.

I ask all members to reflect on the importance of law enforcement animals and our ability as legislators to improve the protection afforded these working animals that contribute so much to making our communities safer for all of us.

Animal CrueltyStatements By Members

February 1st, 2011 / 2:10 p.m.
See context


Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are shocked by reports of the sled dog massacre in British Columbia. I know that my colleagues across the floor will join me in condemning this senseless act.

Our government supports the fight against animal cruelty and the need to send a strong and clear message that it is totally unacceptable in our society. That is why our government helped pass Bill S-203 into law during the last Parliament, a bill that increased the maximum penalty to five years for these terrible acts.

The bill also granted judges the discretion to order, as part of a sentence, that a convicted offender be prohibited from owning or residing with an animal for any length of time considered appropriate, up from the previous maximum of two years.

Our government believes that Bill S-203 delivered an added measure of protection for all animals but remains open to future initiatives to combat animal cruelty.

Animal WelfarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

May 11th, 2010 / 10:10 a.m.
See context


Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Madam Speaker, I have the honour of presenting two petitions signed by many Canadians who are calling upon the House to pass animal welfare legislation to effectively improve the condition of animals and promote animal welfare in Canada.

These petitions suggest that Bill S-203, which provided for stiffer sentences for criminal offences relating to animal cruelty, was without effect. Therefore, the petitioners call upon the government, through the House of Commons, to bring in serious sentences for offences relating to animal welfare.

Universal Declaration on Animal WelfarePrivate Members' Business

October 1st, 2009 / 6:10 p.m.
See context


Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Motion M-354 to support the development and adoption of a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare at the United Nations.

We are in favour of a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare at the United Nations, provided an in-depth study is done. The Bloc Québécois is aware that animals are living beings and that it is important to respect them and treat them with dignity. That is why we are supporting a universal declaration on animal welfare in principle.

The purpose of this declaration is to develop a series of principles acceptable to all those who recognize that animal welfare is a major issue with respect to the social development of nations worldwide.

The Universal Declaration of Animal Rights was formally proclaimed in Paris on October 15, 1978, at UNESCO headquarters. This universal declaration is a philosophical position on the relationship that should henceforth exist between humans and animals. The text was revised by the International League of Animal Rights in 1989 and published in 1990.

The Bloc supports the international efforts made. It also believes that cruelty towards animals is unacceptable and that the federal government must take action to ensure that it is roundly condemned. In recent parliaments, our party has carefully examined the issue of bolstering the law in order to explicitly condemn animal abuse and to put to an end to cruel breeding operations.

Although some amendments were recently made to the Criminal Code, the Bloc Québécois believes we must do more and it is in favour of a real reform of the animal cruelty provisions.

The current maximum sentences under the Criminal Code are too lenient for the seriousness of the acts committed.

The Bloc also favours making the ban on owning animals indefinite in order to prevent certain foreseeable animal abuse from taking place. A breeder who has been found guilty of mistreatment should not have the right to re-open a kennel the day after being sentenced. We call those operations puppy mills.

Above all the Bloc Québécois feels that the definition of the term animal should be included in the Criminal Code. At present, the section on cruelty to animals is found under property offences. That does not seem to reflect today's reality.

That is why, during committee study of Bill S-203, the Bloc Québécois proposed the idea of introducing a definition of what an animal is, sought to protect stray as well as domestic animals, wanted to clarify the criterion for negligence, thereby making it easier to prove, and proposed an amendment to formally ban training cocks to fight.

Unfortunately, the Bloc's proposed amendments were rejected and the committee agreed on February 14, 2008, to report the bill without amendments.

That did not stop the Bloc Québécois from supporting Bill S-203 in that it was a small but real step in the right direction and it did not prevent the possible study and adoption of a more comprehensive bill in line with Bill C-50. The NDP tried to kill the bill.

But Bill S-203 would have helped protect animals from certain forms of cruelty—one of the concerns of the Bloc Québécois—and would have increased the maximum penalties set out in the Criminal Code to reflect the seriousness of the crime, sent a message to people who mistreat animals, and sent a message to judges who would have had to take this into account in their sentences. In fact, the seriousness of a crime is partly determined by the maximum penalty a criminal may be subject to.

Bill S-203 also enabled judges to prohibit an individual found guilty from owning or residing with animals for a period of five years, and to order the offender to reimburse the costs incurred by their actions. Lastly, Bill S-203 did not threaten legitimate activities involving the death of an animal, such as agriculture, hunting and fishing.

The NDP and the Liberals had some twisted logic. Instead of voting in favour of improving the bill—it is true that there is more to be done—they preferred to stick to the status quo that they so fiercely protest. They passed up a perfect opportunity to participate in the advancement of animal rights.

If the NDP and the Liberals truly had animal protection at heart, they would have acted differently. They would have followed the Bloc Québécois' example and acted responsibly. Although the Bloc Québécois is aware of the limitations of Bill S-203, it finds that this bill is a small but real step in the right direction, and does not hinder the possible study and adoption of another, more comprehensive bill.

The Bloc Québécois is making no secret of this. It is in favour of a real reform of the animal cruelty provisions and will seriously study any proposals brought forward on this matter again.

The Bloc was particularly in favour of the principle of Bill C-50, which would have created a new section in the Criminal Code to address cruelty to animals, removing this topic from the sections of the code that deal with property.

In closing, of course we support the principle of Motion M-354. We think it is important to adopt a universal declaration of animal welfare, but we also think we must go further. As legislators, we must go ahead with a real reform of the Criminal Code in order to really address the fundamental problem of cruelty to animals.

Universal Declaration on Animal WelfarePrivate Members' Business

October 1st, 2009 / 5:55 p.m.
See context


Michelle Simson Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, with respect to that one bill, Bill S-203, it originated in the other place. It was extremely misleading in that it lulled Canadians into thinking that we were accomplishing something. For the most part, all parties were disappointed that it lacked any kind of depth or teeth.

This is a resolution. This is a commitment that we are looking for, which it is hoped will be heard around the world. This is about something we believe in as a nation, protecting animals, protecting those that have no ability to protect themselves.

Universal Declaration on Animal WelfarePrivate Members' Business

October 1st, 2009 / 5:55 p.m.
See context


Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I really appreciated my colleague's speech on the motion before us, but I had some trouble understanding the link between her speech and her party's position on Bill S-203.

If I am not mistaken, the Liberals and the NDP opposed that bill. Obviously, Bill S-203 did not go as far as we would have liked, but it at least made it possible to end the status quo.

Why did the Liberals introduce this motion today? When it was time to make the necessary legislative changes, the Liberal Party remained seated.

Universal Declaration on Animal WelfarePrivate Members' Business

October 1st, 2009 / 5:40 p.m.
See context


Michelle Simson Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON


Motion No. 354

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should support the development and adoption of a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare at the United Nations as well as at all relevant international organizations and forums.

Madam Speaker, I am very honoured to rise today to present Motion No. 354.

Before I begin, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the member for Burnaby—Douglas who had a similar motion on the order paper. The member graciously agreed to withdraw his motion so I could proceed with the motion we are debating today.

I would also like to thank my caucus colleague, the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, for her continued support and counsel. She is extremely passionate about this issue and I am grateful for all of her support.

World Animal Week is set to begin next week, making the debate of this motion extremely timely for Canada to vote to support the development of a universal declaration on animal welfare, or UDAW.

What is the universal declaration on animal welfare? To put it simply, it is an agreement among people and nations to recognize that animals are sentient, suffer, have welfare needs and to ultimately end animal cruelty worldwide.

The UDAW refers to the welfare of sentient animals. Sentience is the capacity to have feelings and to experience suffering and pleasure. It implies a level of conscious awareness. Scientific research indicates that all vertebrates are animals. This is an active research area and knowledge of sentience among species continues to grow.

More than a billion people rely on animals for their livelihoods and even more for job and food security. For many others, animals are companions that enrich their lives. While it has been proven that animals can feel pain and do suffer, global recognition of the significance of animal welfare remains virtually non-existent.

The UDAW will be structured as a set of general principles that acknowledge and emphasize the importance of animal welfare. The purpose of these principles is to encourage all nations to put in place or enhance existing animal welfare laws and standards. The UDAW will not be binding legislation and does not, therefore, attribute legal rights to animals.

A draft text was developed at the Manila Conference on Animal Welfare in March 2003 and at the Costa Rica steering committee meeting in November 2005. This is the basis for work on the drafting of a universal declaration on animal welfare and is in part based on the following:

That animal welfare is an issue worth consideration by governments.

That the promotion of animal welfare requires collective action and all stakeholders and affected parties must be involved.

That work on animal welfare is a continuous process....

RECOGNIZING that animals are living, sentient beings and therefore deserve due consideration and respect;

RECOGNIZING that animal welfare includes animal health [and that veterinarians have an essential role in maintaining both the health and welfare of animals];

RECOGNIZING that humans [inhabit] this planet with other species and other forms of life and that all forms of life co-exist within an interdependent ecosystem;...

ACKNOWLEDGING that the humane use of animals can have major benefits for humans;

This draft text also outlines the principles of the declaration as being:

1. The welfare of animals shall be a common objective for all [states];

2. The standards of animal welfare attained by each [state] shall be promoted, recognized and observed by improved measures, nationally and internationally. [Whilst there are significant social, economic and cultural differences between societies, each should care for and treat animals in a humane and sustainable manner][in accordance with the principles of the Declaration];

3. All appropriate steps shall be taken by [states] to prevent cruelty to animals and to reduce their suffering; 4. Appropriate standards on the welfare of animals be further developed and elaborated such as, but not limited to, those governing the use and management of farm animals, companion animals, animals in scientific research, draught animals, wildlife animals and animals in recreation.

The next phase in securing international recognition of the welfare of animals is for this non-binding agreement to be endorsed at the United Nations. The achievement of this declaration would be a groundbreaking step toward improvements for animals around the world and would act as a catalyst for change for animals in the following areas:

In the area of environmental sustainability, responsible animal management provides a positive impact on land use, climate change, pollution, water supplies, habitat conservation and biodiversity.

In the area of human health, proper animal care reduces the risk of disease transmission to humans and food poisoning. The human-animal bond also has proven therapeutic effects.

In the area of disaster management, animals are critical elements of many people's livelihoods, food security and cultural awareness. It is essential that protection be considered in disaster reduction preparedness and response policies.

In the area of poverty and hunger reduction, caring for animals appropriately improves productivity and helps farmers to provide food for themselves, their families and their communities.

In the area of social development, people's attitudes and behaviour toward animals overlap with their attitudes and behaviour toward each other.

The UDAW is supported by a growing list of government and key ministries from countries around the world including all 27 members of the European Union, as well as New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, Fiji, Croatia, Cambodia, Bahrain, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Norway and Thailand.

There is also a great deal of support from the public. More than 50,000 Canadians have signed petitions in support of a UDAW. Many of these petitions have been presented in the House of Commons. The UDAW is actively supported by Canada's foremost animal protection organizations including the World Society for the Protection of Animals.

Some may ask why we need a declaration now. In recent years our understanding of animal sentience has progressed dramatically. As a result, animal welfare has developed into an issue that demands immediate attention. The scientific basis of sentience is directly linked to an ethical concern for animal welfare.

There is currently no acknowledgement by the international community of animal welfare being an issue of importance. Neither the scientific findings regarding sentience nor the links between animal welfare and human development have been recognized.

Positive change for animals will follow recognition of animal welfare. Improving animal welfare will have a positive impact on human welfare. Reducing the pain and suffering that humans can inflict on animals will guide our relationship with them. The UDAW represents a new national beginning for our relationship with animals.

The achievement of the declaration is an important step and will act as a catalyst for change in the following ways: by raising the status of animal welfare as an international issue; by encouraging all governments to establish or improve national animal welfare legislation and its implementation; by encouraging those industries which utilize animals to keep their welfare at the forefront of their policies and practices; and finally, by inspiring positive change in public attitudes and actions toward animals.

It is important to emphasize two points. First, the UDAW has yet to be finalized and is only in a draft form. The purpose of this motion is to urge the government to involve itself in the continued development of the text and to support it. Second, the UDAW is a non-binding resolution. Its purpose is to persuade other nations without animal protection legislation to put some in place.

The development of and support for a universal declaration on animal welfare does have an obvious relationship to the cruelty to animals legislation, but will not have a cause and effect relationship. As I mentioned before, the UDAW is a non-binding resolution. The passage of UDAW would not force any changes to our animal welfare laws that we do not as a nation choose to enact ourselves.

As for countries such as ours which have animal welfare legislation, it would provide an excellent opportunity to review current legislation to identify areas of improvement. We know that an update of our animal welfare laws is long overdue, although some work has already taken place.

A great deal of legislation has been introduced and debated in this House over the past number of years. Sadly, of all that legislation introduced, only Bill S-203 was successful in becoming law. While critics say that bill does not go far enough, which is something I concur with, I do think it is a small step in a positive direction.

It is my hope that this motion can be another step to influence not only Canada but the international community as well.

A universal declaration on animal welfare is not a conclusion; it is a beginning. It is a signal that, as a global community, we recognize the importance of animals in our lives and the positive impact they have on our way of life. It is a demonstration of our understanding that treating animals humanely is a benefit to our entire society. Supporting a UDAW is a simple, moral and principled action Canada could take with ease.

I strenuously urge all members to support Motion No. M-354.

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

June 4th, 2008 / 3:45 p.m.
See context


Penny Priddy NDP Surrey North, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-558, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to present this bill, which is an amendment to the Criminal Code regarding animal cruelty. This bill really intends to remedy the deficiencies seen in Bill S-203, which was recently before this House. The people who are working out there on behalf of animal rights and the humane treatment of animals have wanted this for some time. I am pleased to present it today.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Royal AssentGovernment Orders

April 17th, 2008 / 3:55 p.m.
See context


The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

Order, please. I have the honour to inform the House that a communication has been received as follows:

Rideau Hall


April 17, 2008

Mr. Speaker:

I have the honour to inform you that the Hon. Marshall Rothstein, Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of Canada, in his capacity as Deputy of the Governor General, signified royal assent by written declaration to the bills listed in the schedule to this letter on the 17th day of April, 2008 at 3:01 p.m.

Yours sincerely,

Sheila-Marie Cook

Secretary to the Governor General and Herald Chancellor

The schedule indicates the bills assented to are Bill S-203, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals)--Chapter No. 12; Bill C-298, An Act to add perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and its salts to the Virtual Elimination List under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999--Chapter No. 13; Bill C-37, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act--Chapter No. 14; and Bill C-40, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code, the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act, the Canada Student Loans Act and the Public Service Employment Act--Chapter No. 15.

Vote on Bill S-203Points of OrderPrivate Members' Business

April 9th, 2008 / 6:30 p.m.
See context


Royal Galipeau Conservative Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I could have the unanimous consent of the House to revisit a mistake for which I was responsible a few minutes ago.

On the fourth vote, I voted to support Bill S-203. In the confusion of all the noise, when the Speaker called for the nays, both chair occupants sitting here in the rump stood again, definitely in error, and my vote was included as having voted against. Thankfully my colleague from Regina—Qu'Appelle was not counted as voting against, but I was. It will appear that I voted twice. My intention was to vote once and was to vote in favour of Bill S-203.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

April 9th, 2008 / 5:55 p.m.
See context


The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded divisions on the motions at report stage of Bill S-203 under private members' business.

The question is on Motion No. 1.

The House resumed from April 4 consideration of Bill S-203, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals), as reported (without amendment) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.

Animal Cruelty LegislationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

April 7th, 2008 / 6:15 p.m.
See context


Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, my second set of petitions deal with animal cruelty. The petitioners call on Parliament to update a 115 year old law that protects animals from cruelty. Over 700 petitioners are calling for real changes, not Bill S-203, which is coming forward this week in Parliament.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

April 4th, 2008 / 2:25 p.m.
See context


Roger Valley Liberal Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, we just heard many words and the word I heard over and over was “meaningless” and a lot of it is coming from that end of the House.

There is a chance to do something. There is a chance to make a change. There has not been a change for many years. We can do that at this point. We can support Bill S-203 and make sure that something is actually done. We are going to try very hard to make sure that something is actually accomplished.

The member mentions many of the emails that he wants. Is he asking for emails from people who make their living from a lot of these efforts, trappers and hunters, the first nations people? He is talking about a group of people who want the same thing we want. We want to make the protection of animals a priority. Bill S-203 will do that. It will actually do something that has not been done in quite awhile.

The argument is that a future bill is coming in Bill C-373, but we have already heard that it will never see the light of day in the House. The time is not going to happen. We are not going to get to that discussion, so we will not be able to do that. We actually want to do something concrete and the time is now to deal with Bill S-203.

What do we want to do with this? We want to make sure that animal protection is a priority. We want to make sure the penalties are increased. We want everyone in Canada to know that we are actually doing something.

Starting out with this bill does not mean that we will not be doing something in the future. It does not mean that we cannot change and a new bill can come to the floor of the House.

As has been mentioned by every speaker, things can change and things will be changed in the future. We want to make sure that there is a lot of good sober second thought and a lot of effort put into this. We want to make sure that people's ways--