Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson says the amendments would streamline and enhance the process for appeals brought before the Animal Care Appeal Board.

“Everyone benefits when the well-being of animals is respected,” said Johnson. “The ethically sound treatment of animals is a priority for citizens and society as a whole, is good business practice and is an essential part of modern agriculture. These amendments align with our government’s commitment to protect the welfare of animals and to enforce compliance with an acceptable standard for their care.”

The Animal Care Appeal Board hears appeals on animal seizures and other decisions and orders made under the Animal Care Act. The proposed amendments would update the process for filing appeals, increase the flexibility of hearings and introduce provisions related to the dismissal of appeals, the minister noted.

The amendments would change the process for appeals by introducing a seven-day time limit for filing a notice of appeal, though an additional provision would allow the appeal board to extend this time limit in specified circumstances. The requirement that a notice of appeal must be in writing and must state the reasons for the appeal remains unchanged.

The changes would increase the flexibility of hearings by ensuring appeals could be held in multiple formats including in person, in writing or orally by telephone or other electronic means.

The amendments also introduce provisions that would allow the appeal board to dismiss an appeal for specific reasons, such as if the appeal had not been filed within the applicable time limit, or if it were not within the jurisdiction of the appeal board.

The minister noted that, in the interest of fair access to justice, an additional provision would allow an opportunity for the appellant to make a written submission to the board before the appeal is dismissed.