All of the provinces and territories have animal protection laws. They vary widely in terms of which animal welfare issues are covered and the level of protection provided. The degree to which the laws are enforced, and who is responsible for enforcement of the laws, also varies significantly from one jurisdiction to the next.
There is some overlap between these provincial or territorial laws and the animal cruelty section of Canada’s Criminal Code, in that some of the offences deemed illegal in provincial and territorial laws are also listed as criminal in the Criminal Code. In cases of animal abuse, enforcement officials may choose to lay charges under the provincial or territorial law, the Criminal Code, or both.
In general, provincial laws usually have broader, stronger protections for animals than the Criminal Code and include specific standards of care that animal owners must adhere to (which the Criminal Code does not). Because of this, enforcement officials in provinces that have broad, comprehensive animal welfare legislation tend to lay charges under the provincial law more frequently than under the Criminal Code.
Alberta Animal Protection Act
Alberta Animal Protection Regulation
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act
Animal Care Act
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty Act
Newfoundland and Labrador
Animal Health and Protection Act
Animal Protection Standards Regulations
Animal Protection Regulations
Animal Protection Act
The Dog Act
Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act
Prince Edward Island
Animal Health Act
Animal Health Protection Act
Animal Protection Act (link to updated legislation coming soon!)
Herd and Fencing Act
To find out more about enforcement of the various laws above, contact the provincial or local SPCA or humane society for the jurisdiction in question.