2013 Canadian Animal Protection Laws Rankings™

Posted on July 28, 2013

Based on a detailed comparative analysis of the animal protection laws of each jurisdiction, the 2013 Canadian Animal Protection Laws Rankings recognizes the provinces and territories where laws protecting animals have real teeth, and calls out those like Quebec—the worst in Canada this year for animal protection laws—where animal abusers get off easy.

ALDF’s sixth annual report, the only one of its kind in the nation, ranks every province and territory on the relative strength and general comprehensiveness of its animal protection laws. Manitoba, British Columbia, and Ontario take top honors in 2013 for providing strong protections for animals.


Quebec Remains Best Province to be an Animal Abuser

Animal Legal Defense Fund Annual Study Ranks Laws Across the Country, Finds Little Improvement in 2013

Download the full report (PDF)

A new in-depth study released by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) confirms the wide range of disparity that currently exists across the country in terms of provincial and territorial animal protection legislation. ALDF’s sixth annual report, the only one of its kind in Canada, ranks each jurisdiction on the relative strength and comprehensiveness of its animal protection laws. The ranking is based on a detailed comparative analysis of the animal protection legislation of each province and territory, focusing on sixty study questions spanning eleven categories. Each jurisdiction is attributed a numerical ranking based upon its cumulative score and is grouped into a top, middle, or bottom tier.

For the report’s sixth edition, a new category relating to breed specific legislation was added to the methodology used to determine the rankings. Thus, Ontario, the only jurisdiction to have enacted province-wide legislation banning a breed of dog based on reputation rather than on actual conduct, lost a number of points this year. In spite of this decreased score, Ontario continues to occupy the top tier, along with Manitoba, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia.

Overall, few improvements were noted since last year’s report. Indeed, the rankings are nearly identical to those of 2012, the only exception being Prince Edward Island, which moved up a spot to take Saskatchewan’s place in the bottom of the middle tier. Changes to Prince Edward Island’s Animal Health Protection Act, which mainly applies to farm animals, include newly available restrictions on future ownership of animals upon conviction, as well as a significant increase in maximum penalties (the maximum fine went up from $2,000 to $15,000).

Quebec continued to enhance its animal protection legislation this year. The province broadened its oversight authority over animal facilities, which can now be ordered to cease their activities for a period of up to sixty days if the animals’ welfare is threatened.  It also expanded restrictions on future ownership of animals upon conviction. Most notably, Quebec enacted stiffer penalties, with animal abusers now facing a fine of up to $25,000 for a first offence and up to $75,000 for repeat offenders. Despite having made improvements to its animal protection legislation for two years in a row, Quebec holds its position as the province with the weakest animal protection legislation. It is joined in the bottom tier by Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, which remains the worst jurisdiction in Canada when it comes to animal protection.

Since ALDF began publishing these rankings in 2008, there has been a marked improvement in the laws of many provinces and territories, and more advances are on the way. However, there continues to be considerable differences across the country, with some jurisdictions making substantial steps forward, and others lagging behind. Irrespective of its current rank, every province and territory has ample room for improvement. It is ALDF’s hope that these ongoing reviews continue to shed light on this important issue and garner support for both the strengthening and enforcement of animal protection laws throughout the country.

ALDF encourages those who care about the welfare and protection of animals to contact their elected officials about the importance of having strong, comprehensive laws in this field, and to alert law enforcement should they ever witness animal abuse or neglect.

For additional information, see our Model Animal Protection Laws collection and Animal Protection Laws of the USA & Canada compendium.


Download the full report (PDF)

Download a high resolution PDF of the Canadian Animal Protection Laws Rankings Map

Download the small Canadian Animal Protections Laws Rankings Map

Annual Animal Protection Laws Rankings Reports

United States: 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012
Canada: 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013

4 thoughts on “2013 Canadian Animal Protection Laws Rankings™

  1. Sherri says:

    I would like to know where you got your stats for Manitoba? According to the stats I have from the courts as well as from the Chief Veterinarians office, our laws don’t represent what you have stated in this article.

    1. ALDF says:

      If you look at page 20 of the report you can read about the methodology used in the report. Thanks for reading!

  2. B Dawson says:

    While it took three and half yeas out of my life (2008 to May 2011) I won the fight against the NWT Government, and the New NWT Dog Act was legislated in May 2011. However this First Major Victory in the history of the NWT was a half step measure taken by the Territorial government, in that this Act pertains ONLY to dogs and no other companion animals. The Comprehensive Animal Protection Act is was is needed and what I fought for. In addition during the passing of the new NWT Dog Act by the Legislative Assembly in May 2011, the motion to continue working towards the Comprehensive Animal Protection Act was passed. No formal continued work has been done to attain this goal that I am aware of.

    Despite the new NWT Dog Act being in place, and while some northern communities have since revised their own Dog Bylaws, dogs continue to be rounded up and shot across the NT in an effort to control canine populations. The need for resident vets, proper and well equipped animal shelters and professional rehab of dogs is desperately needed. While resources from orgs such as WSPA, IFAW and other such rescue organizations focus in the Eastern provinces, as well as across the prairie provinces, no such orgs make any beneficial attempts to solve the same problems in the Canadian North i.e the NWT.

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