It will soon be an offence to stop or obstruct a vehicle carrying livestock
By Diego Flammini
The Ontario government is making it a punishable offence to impede vehicles carrying farm animals.
As of Sept. 2, individuals who “stop, hinder, obstruct or otherwise interfere with a motor vehicle transporting farm animals” can be fined under Bill 156, the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act.
For a first offence, a person can receive a fine of up to $15,000. A subsequent infraction can result in fines up to $25,000.
This regulation helps ensure livestock transporters and farmers are operating in safe environments, said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario's ag minister.
In addition, Regulation 950 under the Provincial Offences Act was changed to allow police officers to issue tickets to anyone who disrupts the transport of livestock.
"This will provide (police) with the ability to actually cause something to happen right there on the scene, just like someone getting stopped for a traffic violation," Minister Hardeman said.
The fine amounts on tickets would be set by the chief justice of the Ontario Court of Justice, the minister added.
Minister Hardeman introduced Bill 156 into the Ontario legislature in December 2019.
Since then, nearly 130 municipalities, including Chatham-Kent, Prince Edward County and Wellington North, have supported the bill and the protections it provides for Ontario farm families.
The support from Ontario communities "is what drove (Bill 156) when we started," he said. "With the help of all these people, we created the bill we have. It's a good balance between protecting public safety and protecting the public's rights to express their freedom of speech and their feelings any way they want as long as they do it on public property."
Ontarians still have time to provide input on Bill 156.
The provincial government’s public consultation period remains open until Oct. 15.