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Simon Shields,
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Wild Animal Law of Canada

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Health of Animals Act (Canada)('HAA')

(current to 01 April 2016)


Note Re Application of the Health of Animals Act (Canada)

This law bears on the wildlife issues of:
  • HUMAN HEALTH
  • FACILITIES
  • IMPORT/EXPORT
The full current text of this legislation (including regulations) may be viewed at the Canada statute website.

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Predominantly concerned with domestic farm animal health, such as disease and toxins in the importation, exportation and processing of such animals for food and further agricultural use (ie. cows, pigs, rendering etc), the federal Health of Animals Act ("HAA") has minor application to wildlife insofar as wild animals can act as a disease "vectors" in relation to domestic cattle and other food animals. Concern over such 'vectors' has typically related to rodents and prairie dogs, but can also run the gamut of any wildlife existing in or being brought into the country.

For it's primary purposes the HAA establishes reporting duties on those owning, possessing or controlling such animals [HAA s.5], quarantine authority [HAA s.25], standards for disposal [HAA s.12-13], forfeiture to the Crown and destruction on attempted illegal importation [HAA s.17], export certifications [HAA s.19] and general public safety measures [HAA s.27.4]. Like mostly regulatory statute regimes it also allows for the appointment of inspectors [HAA s.32] for these purposes, who possess typical peace officer-type investigation and seizure powers [HAA s.38-50]. Also typically, offences provisions are also included in the Act [HAA s.65-69].

Specific wild animal-relevant 'vector' provisions allow inspectors to require the removal from the country and/or destruction of such animals on importation into Canada [HAA s.18], and to otherwise either require the destruction (or directly destroy) such vectors [HAA s.48]. As well, under the main Health of Animals Regulation (CRC c.296) ["HAA Reg"], any animals (including wild animals) being imported into Canada are subject to quarantine requirements, and subsequent destruction if they fail any disease tests [HAA Reg, ss.58-62].


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