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Simon Shields, Lawyer

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Wild Animal Law of Canada

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Public Health Act (PEI)

(current to 15 May 2016)

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

This law bears on the wildlife issues of:
  • HUMAN HEALTH
  • EUTHANASIA

The full current text of this legislation (including regulations) may be viewed at the Prince Edward Island statute website.

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The Public Health Act (PEI) ('PHA') is only concerned with animals insofar as they are potential (zoonotic) vectors of communicable disease and infections, and thus are potentially harmful to the "health and well-being of the people of Prince Edward Island" [PHA 3]. For these purposes, 'communicable disease' "means an illness that is caused by the transmission of an infectious agent or its toxic products, directly or indirectly, from an infected person, animal, plant, object or the environment and includes those diseases prescribed by regulation" [PHA 1(b)].

That said, as a practical matter the PHA's animal-related provisions apply predominantly with respect to domestic (read 'food') animals, particularly the operation of slaughterhouses [PHA 17] and milk processing [PHA 14].

There is conceivable wild animal application in the PHA respecting diseases that occur within wild populations, particularly rabies [NDCCD Regs 9.2]. Full lists of diseases of concern are located in Schedules I, II and III of the Notifiable Diseases and Conditions and Communicable Diseases Regulations ('NDCCD Regs').

Regardless, the PHA adopts the basic techniques of most public health statutes, namely creating a 'duty to report' [when generally ordered by the Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO)] any suspicions that their animals are so-infected, and to quarantine the animals if so ordered by the Health Minister [PHA 49(2), NDCCD Regs 5]. Additionally, it authorizes the CPHO through it's inspectors to seize and destroy hazards, including animals [PHA 28], and it allows for prosecution under it's general offence provision [PHA 66].
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