Animal protection legislation and regulation

All of the provinces and territories, in Canada, have animal protection legislation and regulation. They vary widely within Canada in terms of animal welfare issues that are covered, and the detail of protection/enforcement provided. The degree to which the legislation and regulations are enforced, and who is responsible for enforcement, varies significantly from one provincial or territorial jurisdiction to the next.

There is some overlap between provincial and/or territoriallegislation/regulation and the animal cruelty section of Canada’s Criminal Code. Some offenses detailed in provincial and territorial legislation/regulation are alsodefined as criminal in the Criminal Code (Federal). Suspected animal abuse, investigated by enforcement officials may be subject to charges/discipline under the provincial or territorial legislation/regulation, the Criminal Code of Canada, or both.

Some provincial legislation/regulation may have broader, stronger protection foranimals than the Criminal Code and may include specific standards of care that animal owners must adhere to (the Criminal Code may not). Therefore, enforcement officials in provinces that have broad, comprehensive animal welfare legislation may lay charges under provincial law more frequently than under the Criminal Code of Canada.


British Columbia


New Brunswick

Newfoundland and Labrador

Nova Scotia


Prince Edward Island



Northwest Territories


To learn more about enforcement of the various legislation and regulation you may, contact the provincial or local SPCA, RCMP, or other law enforcement agencies within the jurisdiction.

The above refers to provincial, territorial and federal legislation and regulation, we need also to be aware municipal governing bodies may have bylaws in their respective areas.

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