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e-2700 (Animals)

Initiated by Adrian Walton from Maple Ridge, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • The recent mass importation of dogs into the Toronto International Airport has highlighted a major hole in the Canadian system for monitoring the commercial sales of animals;
  • The international aspect to this trade lends it to two major problems, outsourcing puppy mills to foreign countries and in a world of zoonotic diseases, the international trade in pet animals represents a great risk to both human and companion animal health; and
  • A quick search of the major classified websites show a collection of animals both legal and illegal for sale, with minimal oversight by federal agencies.
We, the undersigned, companion animals lovers, Veterinarians and just compassionate people, call upon the Government of Canada to ban the sale of animals through online classified websites like Kijiji and other social media platforms.

Response by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, PC, MP

The proper care and well-being of animals is very important to Canadians. Citizens are rightly upset when they see animals being mistreated. There is an expectation that those who keep animals also have a responsibility to ensure their care and well-being, whether they are farmed, companion, recreational, or working animals. Canadians have a special appreciation for dogs and other companion animals, which are often considered as part of the family, making their mistreatment seem particularly objectionable.

The term “puppy mill” is typically used in reference to sub-standard dog breeding operations lacking basic standards of care. The term is not defined in legislation. However, there are common characteristics usually associated with the term, which is described by the National Companion Animal Coalition (NCAC) as follows:

The term puppy mill generally refers to a high-volume, sub-standard dog breeding operation, which sells purebred or mixed breed dogs to unsuspecting buyers. Some of the characteristics common to puppy mills are:

  1. Sub-standard health and / or environmental issues;
  2. Sub-standard animal care, treatment, and/or socialization;
  3. Sub-standard breeding practices that lead to genetic defects or hereditary disorders; and
  4. Erroneous or falsified certificates of registration, pedigrees, and/or genetic background.

(Note: These conditions may also exist in small-volume or single-breed establishments.)

Deceptive sales practices and contractual issues are also aggravating factors, including misrepresentation of animals as registered or purebred. When sold as registered or purebred in Canada, animals should be individually identified and followed by an appropriately transferred certificate of registration in accordance with the Animal Pedigree Act. The Canadian Kennel Club and other dog breed associations approved under the Act are authorized to register dog breeds in Canada.

The legislative authority with respect to animal production and welfare, including dog breeding operations, falls primarily under provincial jurisdiction. Every province has legislation in place respecting the humane treatment of animals and authority to enforce its respective regulations. In addition, animal control requirements are usually a responsibility of municipalities. If any person is concerned about dog breeding facilities and potential violations of provincial and/or municipal regulations and by-laws, they should bring their concerns to the attention of the appropriate provincial or municipal authority.

The following provincial and territorial legislation concerning farm animal welfare, also apply to dog breeding operations:

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is not responsible for regulating puppy mills or the online sale of companion animals/pets. However, CFIA is responsible for regulating the importation of animals, including dogs, into Canada in order to prevent the introduction and spread of diseases that could negatively impact the health of both animals and humans. CFIA veterinarians inspect all import shipments that require a permit. All dogs coming to Canada must have all necessary vaccinations appropriate for the age of the dog, be healthy with no visible sign of illness, be fit to travel, and be accompanied by the necessary export documentation. All dogs over three months of age must have a valid rabies certificate at arrival or within 14 days after arrival.

Commercial dogs younger than eight months, including dogs destined for subsequent adoption or animal welfare organizations, must meet additional import requirements. They must come from a registered kennel, be fully vaccinated (including vaccination against canine distemper, hepatitis, parvo virus, parainfluenza, and rabies if older than three months), be identified by microchip or tattoo, be accompanied by a veterinary health certificate, and have an import permit. CFIA is also planning to significantly strengthen the import conditions for dogs in 2021 and develop electronic systems that can better track animal imports in Canada.

Whether dogs are bred in Canada or imported, one of the most important measures to combat puppy mills is for prospective new owners to be appropriately informed. There is guidance available to members of the public who wish to understand appropriate criteria for kennel operations. The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association has developed a Code of Practice for Canadian Kennel Operations that is accessible online. To assist potential owners in avoiding purchasing a dog from sub-standard operations, the National Companion Animal Coalition and other organizations also have developed online guidance for prospective owners.

In Canada, the COVID pandemic resulted in an increase in demand for dogs, which rapidly surpassed the available supply from reputable breeders. As a result, buyers who were willing to purchase animals at inflated prices and without all the normal due diligence and assurances, may have helped create a situation in which puppy mills were able to thrive temporarily.

It is important for those wishing to purchase a new family pet to undertake due diligence and ask critical questions before making a purchase. This is one of the most important steps to limit puppy mills in Canada. If buyers have been victims of misleading or deceptive practices, they may report it to the local police or to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre through its website at, or by telephone at 1-888-495-8501.

Open for signature
June 26, 2020, at 4:23 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
August 25, 2020, at 4:23 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Nathaniel Erskine-Smith (Beaches—East York)
February 26, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00577)
Government response tabled
April 12, 2021
Photo - Nathaniel Erskine-Smith
Beaches—East York
Liberal Caucus