Toronto

Ford government appealing decision that found OSPCA's powers unconstitutional

The Ontario government is appealing a court ruling that found the enforcement powers held by the province's private animal welfare agency were unconstitutional.

Judge had found government wrong to grant police powers without also imposing accountability standards

Last month's decision had found the government was wrong to grant police powers to the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals without also imposing accountability and transparency standards on the agency. (Ontario SPCA)

The Ontario government is appealing a court ruling that found the enforcement powers held by the province's private animal welfare agency were unconstitutional.

Last month's decision had found the government was wrong to grant police powers to the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals without also imposing accountability and transparency standards on the agency.

The Attorney General has filed the notice of appeal on several grounds, including one arguing the court erred when it recognized a new principle of fundamental justice that law enforcement bodies must be subject to reasonable standards of transparency and accountability.

Jeffrey Bogaerts, a paralegal with an interest in animal law welfare, launched the constitutional challenge over the OSPCA's powers five years ago. 

The judge who ruled on the case gave the provincial government a year to rewrite the act that governs the OSPCA.

The OSPCA has declined to comment, saying it is a matter between the courts and the Ontario government.

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