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This consultation was open from:
November 23, 2022
to January 9, 2023
Amendments are proposed to the Animal Health Act, 2009 to expressly enable a temporary response order when necessary. The proposed amendments also include enhanced consistency in the use of inspection authorities; updates related to the Legislation Act, 2006; and greater flexibility on publication of certain orders.
Why consultation isn't required
The Animal Health Act, 2009 (AHA) is not prescribed in O. Reg. 73/94. The amendment proposals are unlikely to have a significant impact on the environment if introduced, passed and proclaimed into force as proposed. However, the ministry is posting a notice on the ERO because previous regulatory proposals under the AHA have also been posted on the ERO for consultation. Ontario’s policy approach to animal health recognizes the inherent link between the health of farmed animals, the health of animals that are part of the natural environment in Ontario, and the health of people.
Ontario recognizes the important relationship among animal health, human health, food safety and the economic well-being of the livestock and poultry sectors. The Animal Health Act, 2009 (AHA) provides important tools to detect and respond to significant animal health hazards or animal-related threats to human health in Ontario (e.g., a zoonotic disease in animals that may pose a risk to human health).
The livestock and poultry sectors are increasingly concerned about the risks and potential costs associated with a major animal health hazard, given recent attention to African swine fever in other countries and to diseases that have been detected in Ontario, such as avian influenza in poultry.
Providing clarity to the province’s animal health legislation and an appropriate range of authorities would enable a timely and effective response. This may be useful in the initial phases of an emerging animal health event.
Providing for a timely and effective response may significantly further the prevention of, detection of, response to, control of, and recovery from, hazards such as animal disease outbreaks. In turn, this may better protect the health of both livestock and humans and mitigate against any economic or trade impacts
Early, coordinated action could also safeguard supply chains by mitigating the risk of further spread and thereby limit the potential for higher costs to the industry and consumers associated with a more comprehensive response and recovery effort.
It is proposed that the Minister would be able to issue a temporary response order after receiving the advice of the Chief Veterinarian for Ontario, in situations where the Minister is of the opinion that any delay in implementing the measures authorized or required by the order will, or be likely to, increase substantially the risk to animal or human health and immediate measures are necessary to mitigate the possibility of that risk increasing. In forming this opinion, the Minister shall consider the principle that the absence of scientific consensus should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to avoid or minimize the risk to animal or human health.
A temporary response order would be effective only for as long as necessary but, in any case, would expire after 72 hours. If the Chief Veterinarian for Ontario recommends that the order be extended and if, in the Minister’s opinion, the criteria for issuing the order continue to exist, the Minister may extend the order once, before it expires, for a further period of up to 72 hours.
Section 18 of the AHA would be amended to achieve greater consistency in setting out an inspector’s authority to conduct an inspection to check for compliance with an existing order, including an animal health control area order, a temporary response order, and a surveillance zone order.
A proposed amendment would clarify that Part III of the Legislation Act, 2006 does not apply to a temporary response order or an animal health control area order.
To provide clarity and flexibility, section 24 of the AHA would be amended to allow more flexibility on the appropriate method for the Minister being required to post notice of an animal health control area on a government website and in any other appropriate manner.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact
As the proposed amendments are either enabling in nature or administrative, it is not expected that the proposed amendments, if passed and proclaimed into force, would result in any direct compliance costs for business.
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