May 17, 2018
Challenging the Ontario SPCA
On May 11, the Ottawa Citizen detailed a case in Perth that is challenging the validity of Ontario SPCA Act and the OSPCA itself. Everyone at the Ottawa Humane Society read this article with keen interest. We agree with some of the concerns raised, but not others.
As to the provisions embedded in the OSPCA Act, without commenting on specific actions of the OSPCA, we believe that special powers are required to intervene in cases of animal cruelty and neglect. These cases are not about recovering a stolen television. Officers are intervening to protect a living, breathing creature, who is suffering and whose life may be at risk. Time is frequently of the essence and the act reflects this.
As to the lack of transparency at the OSPCA itself, we could not agree more with the concerns raised. In fact, this was the central reason that the OHS and six other affiliates (members) of the OSPCA ended up in court and the reason that the OHS had its investigations role suspended.
The board of the OSPCA, without notice, suspended all its voting members to introduce a new bylaw making the sitting board — themselves — the only voting members of the OSPCA, thereby removing the organization’s last vestige of outside oversight. The OHS did not agree, and was suspended as a result.
It is time to introduce accountability and transparency into the actions of the OSPCA. It is not acceptable that there is a private police force operating in the province without oversight. This needs to change. But we believe this can be achieved in a way that vulnerable animals can still be protected.