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Wild Animal Law of Canada


Municipal Act (Manitoba)

(current to 01 September 2016)

Note Re Application of the Municipal Act ('MA')

In granting municipalities the by-law jurisdiction to regulate respecting animals, the MA expressly does so with respect to both wild and domestic animals without distinction [MA 232(1)(k)].

This law bears on the wildlife issues of:
The full current text of the Municipal Act and it's Regulations may be viewed at the Manitoba statute website.

Manitoba's Municipal Act grants municipalities very broad (and even ill-defined) jurisdiction to address animal issues. This authority is simply stated as follows [MA 232(1)(k)]:
232(1) A council may pass by-laws for municipal purposes respecting the following matters: ....

(k) wild and domestic animals and activities in relation to them, including by-laws differentiating on the basis of sex, breed, size or weight";
Traditionally, Canadian municipal by-law jurisdiction with respect to animals has been limited to public safety and nuisance control, classically with domestic dogs. However the MA is silent on the such issues.

As such this MA animal jurisdiction can be fairly interpreted as applying quite widely in relation to anything to do with animals, even entrenching into animal-related fields that other jurisdictions, particularly the province itself, may have already occupied (eg. animal welfare, or circuses and zoos).

Modern judicial attitudes are highly tolerate of conflicts between laws from different levels of government (the issue of 'paramountcy'). The current doctrine from the Supreme Court of Canada on paramountcy is stated in 114957 Canada Ltée (Spraytech, Société d'arrosage) v. Hudson (Town) (SCC, 2001). This test is two-step examination of (1) the mutual operability of the competing laws ("operability") and (2) frustration of purpose of the dominant legislator ("frustration"). This doctrine was reaffirmed by that same court in Saskatchewan (Attorney General) v. Lemare Lake Logging Ltd., 2015 SCC 53 (CanLII).

Regulatory methods that municipalities may use in bylaws are listed (in relevant part) here [MA 232(2)]:
232(2) Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), a council may in a by-law passed under this Division

(a) regulate or prohibit;

(b) adopt by reference in whole or in part, with any changes the council considers necessary or advisable, a code or standard made or recommended by the Government of Canada or a province or a recognized technical or professional organization, and require compliance with the code or standard;

(c) deal with any development, activity, industry, business, or thing in different ways, or divide any of them into classes and deal with each class in different ways;

(d) establish fees or other charges for services, activities or things provided or done by the municipality or for the use of property under the ownership, direction, management or control of the municipality;

(e) subject to the regulations, provide for a system of licences, permits or approvals, including any or all of the following:

(i) establishing fees, and terms for payment of fees, for inspections, licences, permits and approvals, including fees related to recovering the costs of regulation,

(ii) establishing fees for licences, permits and approvals that are higher for persons or businesses who do not reside or maintain a place of business in the municipality,

(iii) prohibiting a development, activity, industry, business or thing until a licence, permit or approval is granted,

(iv) providing that terms and conditions may be imposed on any licence, permit or approval, and providing for the nature of the terms and conditions and who may impose them,

(v) providing for the duration of licences, permits and approvals and their suspension or cancellation or any other remedy, including undertaking remedial action, and charging and collecting the costs of such action, for failure to pay a fee or to comply with a term or condition or with the by-law or for any other reason specified in the by-law, and

(vi) providing for the posting of a bond or other security to ensure compliance with a term or condition ....;
Such by-laws may also provide, in the event of a contravention, for the "seizing, removing, impounding, confiscating and selling or otherwise disposing of plants, animals, vehicles, or other things ..." [MA 236(1)(b)(iv)].

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