Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act
What is Bill 156?
Bill 156, Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, is an Ontario law that protects farm animals, the food supply, farmers and others in Ontario from risks that are created when:
- Trespassers enter places where farm animals are kept; or
- When persons engage in unsafe, unauthorized interactions with farm animals and transport vehicles.
The risks of trespass and unauthorized interactions include:
- Exposing farm animals to disease and stress
- Introducing contaminants into the food supply
- Human and animal injury
Why is Bill 156 needed?
Bill 156 strikes an important balance. It respects the right to peaceful public protest, while giving the justice system the tools it needs to help protect farms, farmers, livestock, abattoirs and meat processors, and the food supply from trespassing and harassment.
Increasingly, trespassers are invading farm properties, barns and processing facilities, harassing families and workers, frightening and stealing animals, and threatening Ontario’s food safety by ignoring biosecurity protocols.
Farmers and their families deserve to feel safe at home on the farm. Unwanted visitors and trespassers can have devastating impacts on the health and safety of farms, families, businesses and livestock.
FAQs about Bill 156
Below are answers to frequently asked questions about Ontario’s Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act (formerly Bill 156).
Why can’t activists come into barns or interact with animals?
Anyone entering barns or farms, handling animals or moving between barns without following proper biosecurity protocols puts the health of animals, the safety of food and the livelihood of farmers at risk.
People entering most barns need to follow biosecurity protocols, including taking a full shower and changing into designated clothing and footwear.
Entering barns without following proper protocols increases the risk of disease to animals, and the risk of injury to people unfamiliar with equipment or livestock.
Is it true that there are no laws or regulations protecting animals?
Ontario farms, livestock truckers and food processors are highly regulated, with several levels of validation and inspection ensuring compliance.
Farms are regularly visited by veterinarians, who monitor the health and well-being of animals.
Ontario farmers support the new Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act (PAWS), which protects animals, including livestock from abuse and neglect. Ontario livestock organizations work with provincial enforcement agencies to report and address any concerns related to livestock care in the province.
All livestock commodities in Canada are subject to national animal care guidelines under the National Farm Animal Care Council.
CFIA veterinarians are present at federal processing plants, and OMAFRA inspectors are at provincial plants to inspect for signs of illness, injury or mistreatment.
Who are farmers trying to protect?
Our homes and families. Farms are more than barns and fields – they are the homes of farm families, and should be under the protection of the law.
Our workers and transporters. Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act says that workers should expect a workplace free of harassment and violence. Livestock transporters have endured ongoing harassment, threats and interference from animal rights extremists when delivering animals to processing plants in Ontario.
Our animals. Barn break ins, as well as protestors crowding, shouting and interfering with animals in transit causes undue stress to animals.
The food supply. Introducing unknown substances to animals puts food safety at risk.
The judicial system. Bill 156 is an important step, giving police and the courts additional tools to protect farm families, animals and others involved in the food sector from harassment, invasion of private property, and harm.
Why do farmers support rules that would discourage getting hired at a farming operation under false pretenses?
Bringing in staff to work with our animals is an exercise in trust and training.
We expect all employees to treat animals with the high standards of care that each farmer has committed to uphold.
Most farmers require staff to sign commitments to immediately report any concerns about animal health or treatment, because if something goes wrong, it needs to be corrected immediately.
“Undercover activists” may claim to have the best interest of animals at heart, but in practice will allow concerns to go unreported – and at times cause undue suffering to animals – all in the interest of creating a few moments dramatic footage to advance their agenda, and protecting themselves from any repercussions.
This is not investigative journalism. Journalists have a professional obligation to report honestly and objectively, even when covering difficult subjects. This is about individuals gaining access to animals under false pretenses, failing to live up to their responsibilities of care, then manipulating video clips to evoke an emotional response in support of their cause.
What are the long-term impacts of activist extremism on farmers, truckers or plant workers?
Livestock transporters may choose to leave the business rather than deal with daily harassment, exacerbating ongoing labour shortages.
Farmers forced to deal with nuisance complaints and harassment have less time to focus on their core mission of animal care.
Ongoing harassment, unfounded accusations and attacks made in person, through social media or in public venues put undue stress on farmers and individuals in the food sector who are following the law, caring for animals and putting food on the table for Canadians.
Has Bill 156 passed in Ontario?
Yes. On December 4, 2020, the Ontario government announced the proclamation of the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020.
Beginning December 5, 2020, the Act will be in force to protect Ontario’s food supply chain, from farm to table, without infringing on the right to peacefully protest and, in conjunction with the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act (PAWS), 2019, ensure animals are protected and cared for properly.
PAWS Act and Bill 156
Ontario farmers believe in exposing any acts of animal mistreatment or abuse by utilizing existing enforcement services.
Anyone who witnesses animal abuse or neglect should report directly to 1-833-9-ANIMAL immediately.
Bill 156 complements Bill 136, the Provincial Animal Welfare Service Act, which came into force on January 1, 2020.
Who needs Bill 156?
Hear from farmers and livestock truckers about why they need Bill 156 to protect their families, food supply, and animals.