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Simon Shields, LLB

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Simon Shields,
LLB

Barrister and Solicitor
(Retired)
LSUC #37308N


simonshields@isp.com

Legal Writing and Research


Wild Animal Law of Canada

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Public Health Act (Alberta)

(current to 01 August 2016)

Note Re Application of the Public Health Act ('PHA')

The Public Health Act has limited application to animals, but for the most part makes no distinction between wild and domestic animals.

This law bears on the wildlife issues of:
  • HUMAN HEALTH
  • EXTERMINATION
  • PROTECTION
  • SALE
The full current text of this legislation (including regulations) may be viewed at the Alberta statute website.
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The Public Health Act (Alberta) ('PHA') is only concerned with animals insofar as they are potential (zoonotic) vectors of communicable diseases ["an illness in humans that is caused by an organism or micro‑organism or its toxic products and is transmitted directly or indirectly from an infected person or animal or the environment"] and infections ["the entry and multiplication of an infectious agent in the body of a person or animal"] [PHA 1]. It's animal-related concern is in 'disinfestation', by which is meant "the destruction or removal, by any physical or chemical process, of animal forms present on domestic animals or humans or in the environment" [PHA 1], and in the use of isolation and quarantine procedures which can be applied to animals [Communicable Diseases Regulation ('CD Regs')].

Specific provisions that apply to animals are as follows:
  • no person shall import, sell, offer for sale or otherwise distribute turtles of the genera Pseudemys (cooters), Graptemys (map turtles), Chrysemys (painted turtles) or Chelydra (snapping turtles) [CD Regs 10];

  • no person shall sell or offer for sale a budgerigar or other psittacine bird (parrots) unless it has been fed exclusively, from the time it was able to consume seed until the time of its delivery to the purchaser, on seed to each gram of which 5.0 mg of chlortetracycline has been added;

    Additionally any excessive death of these birds must be reported to the medical officer of health, who may order them all destroyed if their infection rate is over 40%. Records must also be kept of the sale of these birds [CD Regs 11-13].

  • it is a prohibited nuisance to keep animals or birds in an enclosed space or building in a manner that might become injurious or dangerous to the public health, or that might hinder in any manner the prevention or suppression of disease [Nuisance and General Sanitation Regulation ('NGS Regs') 2].
The PHA adopts the basic techniques of most public health statutes, including the creation of a 'duty to report' communicable diseases (by teachers, health practitioners and heads of institutions) to the medical officer of health [PHA 22].

Additionally, PHA health authorities have powers of inspection [PHA 59-60], may order the quarantine and/or destruction (disinfestation) of animals [PHA 62, CD Regs], and may prosecute PHA offences under it's general offence provisions [PHA 73].



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