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The Impact of OSPCA Changes on GHS (FAQs)

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What is going on with the enforcement of animal cruelty and neglect investigations in Ontario?

On June 6, 2019, the Ontario government passed the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA Amendment Act (Interim Period), 2019 (Bill 117). This act empowers the province to appoint a Chief Inspector, who can in turn appoint qualified local inspectors at affiliated humane societies, like the Guelph Humane Society (GHS), who are willing to assist and ensure animal welfare enforcement continues after June 28, 2019, when the OSPCA will withdraw its animal protection enforcement services.

The Guelph Humane Society supported Bill 117, because it enables our organization to continue the enforcement work it is already doing to protect animals in Guelph and Wellington County. This temporary legislative measure will keep animals safe in the interim, while a more robust, transparent and accountable animal protection system can be developed for Ontario.

An unexpected decision from the Ontario SPCA in early March, announced that they will end their work in investigating and enforcing animal cruelty laws in Ontario. An agreement between the Ontario SPCA (OSPCA) and the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (now the Ministry of the Solicitor General) was announced on April 1st. This transitional period ends June 28, when the above noted OSPCA Amendment Act takes over.


What will happen after June 28?

The Guelph Humane Society will continue its crucial animal protection work, under the direction of the provincially appointed Chief Inspector. Citizens in Guelph and Wellington County can continue to report concerns about animal cruelty, neglect, and abuse to GHS.

“The OSPCA Amendment Act allows local humane societies to continue the important enforcement work that they’ve already been doing for many years,” said Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General in a release dated May 27, 2019. “This is a temporary solution to fill the gaps until we transition to a new model in 2020.”


What does this mean for animals in our community?

Our investigators can continue their important investigation work while the Ontario Government develops a new system to oversee the protection of animals. Animals will remain protected after the original June 28th deadline passes.

The Guelph Humane Society is one of the affiliated humane society’s that has willingly stepped forward to offer our continued protection of animals, while the Province works towards a new, permanent enforcement model. Now our work and efforts turn towards a long-term solution – a provincial wide system the ensures animals are protected with a robust, transparent and effective system!


Thank you to all who helped advocate for animals to remain protected!

You’re emails and phone calls to your Local MPPs, the Solicitor General, etc, helped put pressure on the Ontario Government to create an interim plan in place before the June 28 deadline hit us.  Now animals in our communities are protected because of YOU!

We cannot do the work we do without the help of our passionate community members. In the coming months, we may call upon you again to remind the Provincial Government how important animal protection is to you. Join our mailing list to ensure you receive updates on this issue!


What’s the difference between the Guelph Humane Society and the OSPCA?

The Guelph Humane Society (GHS) is an independent animal welfare organization that relies solely on donor support to provide medical care and housing to over 3,000 animals every year.

The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) is a government directed organization partially funded through tax dollars. The OSPCA is responsible for administering the Ontario SPCA Act, which grants them the power to investigate cases of animal cruelty and potentially lay charges against an owner/caregiver.


Please continue to call us at 519-824-3091 or email investigations@guelphhumane.ca if you have a concern about an animal in our community.


More information:

Adrienne McBride




Links to more information on this ongoing news:

Government of Ontario Press Release –


 News Releases –  https://guelphhumane.ca/news/

Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act – https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/S08016

Find your local MPP – https://www.ola.org/en/members/current/contact-information