Barrister and Solicitor
Legal Writing and Research
Wild Animal Law of Canada(current to 15 August 2016)
Public Health Act (Saskatchewan)
Note Re Application of the Public Health Act ('PHA')The full current text of this legislation (including regulations) may be viewed at the Saskatchewan statute website.
The primary focus of Saskatchewan's Public Health Act ('PHA') is human health. Insofar as animals are concerned, it has greater relevance to domestic animals (particularly respecting cattle and slaughter practices) than it does to wild animals. However it does not formally limit it's application to domestic animals, and so can still bear on wildlife insofar as they carry communicable diseases, are 'contacts' (exposed to communicable diseases) or are health hazards (anything otherwise a risk to public health) [PHA 2].
Note that there is also a 'Diseases of Animals Act', however it only relates to domestic animals, particularly cattle.
This law bears on the wildlife issues of:
- HUMAN HEALTH
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The PHA involves animals (including wild animals) in it's key operative concepts as follows:
- 'communicable disease' means an infection 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 from the environment [PHA 2(h)];
- 'contact' means a person or animal that has (1) likely been infected or exposed to infection by a communicable disease as a result of having been in association with another person or animal that is infected with the disease, exposed to the body fluids of a person or animal that is infected with the disease, or in an environment that is contaminated by the disease or (2) has likely infected another person or animal with a communicable disease [PHA 2(i)];
- 'health hazard' means an animal that is or may become harmful or dangerous to health, that hinders in any manner the suppression of disease or the prevention of injury [PHA 2(q)].
A local health authority may order the owner or person controlling a health hazard animal to remove or remedy it [PHA 25]. The medical officer of health may order anyone "to take or refrain from taking any action specified in the order that the medical health officer considers necessary to decrease or eliminate a risk to health presented by a communicable disease", including [PHA 38]:
- requiring the destruction of any thing (including animals) specified in the order;
- restrict or prohibit the sale of animals or animal products that may transmit a communicable disease to humans;
- require the person to whom the order is directed to take the measures specified in the order, on lands or premises owned or controlled by the person, to either "reduce the number of animals of any species specified in the order that are carrying or suspected by the medical health officer of carrying a communicable disease" or "eliminate the breeding grounds or harbourages" of such animals.
Special rules apply in the case of animal bites and the risk of rabies [Disease Control Regulation 25 ('DC Regs')]:
- where "a person may have been exposed to rabies by having been bitten by an animal" then any attending physician or nurse shall immediately report this to the medical officer of health ('MOH'), the Minister of Agriculture or a peace officer (the latter two of whom must notify the MOH);
- the MOH "shall take all practicable steps to prevent the suspected rabid animal from posing a public health threat";
- if the MOH "has reason to believe that the animal is or may be infected with rabies", they may order that the owner or custodian of the animal isolate or quarantine it or order that it be destroyed (without injuring it's head).