To The Haldimand Press
The provincial government has confirmed that it will appeal the January 2, 2019 decision of the Superior Court of Ontario (SCO) that determined the law enforcement authority of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) is unconstitutional.
The SCO ruling stated that – as a principle of constitutionality – law enforcement must be conducted by an entity that meets a reasonable standard of transparency and accountability and the OSPCA, as a private organization, did not meet that standard.
The SCO decision voided the OSPCA’s policing authority, but delayed its effect for a year to enable the government to implement a new system of animal welfare for the province. The province had 30 days to file an appeal.
The appeal will likely take one to two years before a decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal (OCA). That decision could either void the SCO decision, which would return policing authority to the OSPCA, or it could uphold the SCO decision that compels the government to implement a new system, but the one-year “grace period” would only begin then.
Animal Welfare Watch Ontario (AWWO)’s co-founder Brenda Thompson, who is also the founder of Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue in Hagersville, responded, “We have to hope Minister Jones is sincere about making changes, but we’re worried that her statement doesn’t reflect what the court said about the inappropriateness of OSPCA continuing as the main service provider. AWWO and others had ample proof that the OSPCA has become ineffective and unaccountable well before the SCO decision. It’s time to transition animal welfare away from the OSPCA and move towards service delivery by the public sector.”