Recent initiatives strengthening animal protection in Canada


The Government of Canada is committed to protecting animals. The Criminal Code of Canada prohibits animal cruelty, and since 2015 many initiatives have been put in place to further strengthen the protection of animals in the country.

The End of Cosmetic Animal Testing in Canada (Bill C-47)

The Government of Canada has banned cosmetic animal testing in Canada, representing a major step forward in supporting animal welfare by reducing our reliance on animal testing, while ensuring the continued protection of human health and safety of all Canadians. Information:

Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act (Bill S-203)

This Act bans the capture and keeping in captivity of whales and dolphins, with some exceptions. It is now an offence to own or breed cetaceans in captivity or to move any live cetacean from the immediate vicinity, except if the animal is in distress. Information:

Bestiality and Animal Fighting (Bill C-84)

The Government of Canada has updated the Criminal Code to strengthen protections for children, other vulnerable individuals, and animals by broadening the scope of the bestiality and animal fighting offenses. Information:

Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada Act (Bill S‑5)

This Bill modernizes the CanadianEnvironmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA). Amendments to CEPA require the Government to support the development and use of scientifically justified alternative methods and strategies to replace, reduce, or refine the use of vertebrate animals in toxicity testing. Information:

Ban the Live Export of Horses for Slaughter (Bill C-355)

This enactment would prohibit the export by air from Canada of live horses for the purpose of being slaughtered or fattened for slaughter. Information:

Hazing of Migratory Birds

“Hazing" is the act of deterring migratory birds away from a location for conservation and welfare purposes. The activities that constitute hazing including harassing, chasing, pursuing, worrying, following after or on the trail of, and lying in wait for, are prohibited under the Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022. Environment and Climate Change Canada issued a temporary variance notice for the hazing of migratory birds in October 2023 which exempts certain individuals from those prohibitions when they are hazing in environmental emergencies (for example, during an oil spill) and preventing migratory birds from contacting hazards, thereby helping to protect and conserve migratory birds.

Examples of other long-term initiatives ensuring animals’ protection in the country

Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS)

This treaty signed by Canada, the European Union, and Russia encourages the sustainable use of wildlife by hunters and trappers, an integral part of the Canadian fur trade, and the conservation of species by supporting the humane and safe live capture of wild mammals.

The commitments and partnerships made under the AIHTS have contributed to a number of benefits for animal well-being through the development of humane trapping standards and related research methodologies. Information:

International Air Transport Association (IATA) Live Animals Regulations

In accordance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), Canada requires, via the Wild Animal and Plant Trade Regulations, that every person who exports from Canada a live animal shall, where it is shipped by air, prepare it for shipment and ship it in accordance with the IATA Live Animals Regulations. The Regulations are the global standard and essential guide to transporting live animals by air in a safe, humane, and cost-effective manner.

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