Information for farmers on Bill 156

Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act

ANIMAL PROTECTION ZONE FAQS

Below are answers to frequently asked questions about Animal Protection Zones under the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act.

The Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act (formerly Bill 156) establishes animal protection zones:

An animal protection zone, with respect to a farm, animal processing facility or prescribed premises*, means an area on the farm, facility or premises on which farm animals may be kept or located. There are three types of animal protection zones established under the Act:

  • Category A: An enclosure for farm animals (such as barns and fully fenced pastures)
  • Category B: Areas signed as animal protection zones by the owner or occupier, which meet prescribed requirements in accordance with the regulations, or
  • Category C: Other areas prescribed by the regulations as an animal protection zone. 

Category C animal protection zones are prescribed in regulations as:

  • Land where farm animals are gathered to be transported from the farm to another place,
  • An area of one-metre from the outside wall of any buildings where farm animals are kept if,
    • There is an entrance, exit or other opening into the building located on the wall, and
    • The one-metre area is located within the boundaries of the farm, animal processing facility or prescribed premises*. 
  • With respect to prescribed premises*, 
    • Pens within the premises where farm animals are kept,
    • Any rings or other areas where farm animals are displayed or shown, and
    • Any areas for loading or unloading farm animals at the premises. 

*Prescribed premises are defined in regulation as:

  1. Premises at which farm animals are ordinarily bought or sold and in respect of which a licence has been issued under the Livestock Community Sales Act.
  2. Premises at which farm animals are displayed for public viewing.
  3. Premises at which farm animals lawfully compete against one another.

Category B and Category C animal protection zones are deemed not to be animal protection zones at any time when farm animals are not present in the area.

Category A – Animal Protection Zone: No sign required

  • Barns
  • Enclosed pastures
  • Pens near barns

Category B – Animal Protection Zone: Sign is required

  • Community pastures with no enclosure for farm animals
  • Raceway

Category C – Animal Protection Zone: No sign required

  • Livestock loading zones
  • Rings where farm animals are being displayed or shown
  • Pens in auction houses
  • Rings at sales yards

An animal protection zone sign is an orange sign which serves as a warning to any person that the marked area is an animal protection zone, and that entering is prohibited under the Actunless the person:

  • Has prior consent of the owner or occupier of the farm, animal processing facility or prescribed premises to enter the animal protection zone, or
  • Is a person authorized to carry out a duty under or exercise a power under any Act of Ontario or of Canada, including the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act, 2019,
  • Is a person lawfully exercising an existing Aboriginal or Treaty Right, or
  • Is any other person exempted under the Act.

For a free downloadable version of an animal protection zone sign, please visit: www.aboutbill156.com/order

Barns containing farm animals?

  • NO SIGN NEEDED – Category A animal protection zone.

Fenced Pasture?

  • NO SIGN NEEDED – Category A animal protection zone

Fall fairs?

  • If animals are in a pen, show ring/area, or unloading area: NO SIGN NEEDED – Category C animal protection zone.

Areas at which farm animals lawfully compete against one another?

  • If animals are in a pen, show ring/area, or unloading area: NO SIGN NEEDED – Category C animal protection zone.

An area where farm animals are ordinarily bought or sold, licensed under the Livestock Community Sales Act?

  • If animals are in a pen, show ring/area, or unloading area: NO SIGN NEEDED – Category C animal protection zone.

Areas where farm animals are displayed for public viewing?

  • If animals are in a pen, show ring/area, or unloading area: NO SIGN NEEDED – Category C animal protection zone.

Community Pasture?

  • If there is an enclosure containing the animals: NO SIGN NEEDED  – Category A animal protection zone.
  • If no enclosure (i.e. using guardian animals to contain flock): YES SIGN REQUIRED – Category B animal protection zone // Download the sign here (16 x 12).

Signage is only required for Category B animal protection zones. Category A and Category C Animal Protection Zones do not require signage to be protected under the Act, although signage can be used if wanted.

If signs are used on Category A or C animal protection zones, it is advised to follow the same requirements outlined in the next sections.

If the area meets the requirements, it is eligible to be marked as a Category B animal protection zone. the owner or occupier must mark the area in accordance with the following requirements:

  • Area: The boundaries of the animal protection zone are clearly marked or outlined,
  • Colour: An orange sign, located at each ordinary access point to the area,
  • Size: The sign must be large enough to include a circle of 30 cm in diameter within it,
  • Language: Wording must clearly state that it is an Animal Protection Zone, and
  • Visibility: The sign and any markings must be clearly visible in daylight.

Category B animal protection zones will be deemed animal protection zones only when farm animals are present. Otherwise, the Trespass to Property Act applies.

No. There is no requirement for a circle to be on the sign or for the sign to be in the shape of a circle. The orange part of the sign must be a minimum size of 30cm x 30cm: Large enough to include a circle of 30cm in diameter within it.

For a free downloadable version of an animal protection zone sign, please visit: www.aboutbill156.com/order

As every farm, animal processing facility, and prescribed premises are unique, legislation cannot list every potential area on a property which could be considered an animal protection zone. The regulations allow an owner or occupier to create a Category B animal protection zone on their property, subject to conditions outlined in the regulations. 

To designate an area as a Category B animal protection zone, the area must meet the following requirements:

  • It does not include the entire property,
  • It can only include lands on which farm animals are reasonably likely to be kept or located,
  • It is located within the legal boundaries of the property, and
  • It does not impede access to the front door of any residence found on the property.

It is an offence under the Act for a person to deface, alter, damage or remove any animal protection zone signs which have been posted on a farm, animal processing facility or prescribed premises.

Owners and occupiers should replace signs which do not meet the requirements for animal protection zone signs. 

Motorized vehicles transporting livestock are not considered animal protection zones.

However, they are protected under the Act from being stopped, hindered, obstructed or otherwise interfered with when transporting farm animals. Interactions and interferences with farm animals on motor vehicles is also prohibited without prior consent of the driver.

Additional FAQS

Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act regulations.

Acts that are considered prohibited interferences and interactions with farm animals are listed in the regulations. They include:

  • Directly or indirectly having physical contact with a farm animal, whether the farm animal is dead or alive,
  • Providing any substance to a farm animal, including spraying or throwing any substance on or at a farm animal,
  • Releasing a farm animal from an animal protection zone or transport motor vehicle,
  • Creating conditions in which a farm animal could escape from an animal protection zone or transport motor vehicle,
  • Any activity that causes or is likely to cause harm to a farm animal or harm with respect to food safety.

Prescribed premises are defined in the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act regulations as:

  1. Premises at which farm animals are ordinarily bought or sold and in respect of which a licence has been issued under the Livestock Community Sales Act.
  2. Premises at which farm animals are displayed for public viewing.
  3. Premises at which farm animals lawfully compete against one another.

Consent to entry in or on an animal protection zone, or other prescribed activities which has been given to a person is considered invalid if it is obtained using duress or under false pretences.

If consent was obtained under these conditions, the consent will be deemed to not have been given.

The regulations (see Sections 9-12) outline the situations where false statements result in contravention of the Act, including false statements regarding employment qualifications. Certain exemptions exist for journalists and whistleblowers. Similar conditions exist for when consent is obtained under duress.

Persons are prohibited from interfering or interacting with farm animals in or on the animal protection zones or from carrying out prescribed activities in or on the animal protection zones without the prior consent of the owner or occupier of the farm, facility or premises.

Persons are also prohibited from interfering with a motor vehicle that is transporting farm animals and from interfering or interacting with the farm animals in the motor vehicle without the prior consent of the driver.

This applies even if the trespasser has not been told orally, or in writing, to keep out or if no signs have been posted which restrict or prohibit entry.

Offences under the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act (formerly Bill 156) carry higher penalties; up to $15,000 for the first offence, and up to $25,000 for subsequent offences.

Higher penalties are introduced to serve as a deterrent from trespassing and breaching biosecurity protocols. Persons found guilty of an offence can be held responsible, and may receive a restitution order for any injury, losses or damages occurred as a result of the contravention.

The regulations (see Section 16) list certain circumstances which increase the gravity of an offence, including whether any farm animals were harmed, killed, or whether any human harm occurred. Penalties can be increased for a person who is found guilty of committing an offence under these listed circumstances.

For more information on the fines under the Act, please review Schedule 82.

The Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act (formerly Bill 156) introduces a two-year limitation period for the commencement of proceeding for an offence under the Act.

The two-year period begins on the later of the day the offence was committed, or the day on which evidence of the offence first came to the attention of a police officer.

We encourage you to read the government resources for further information.

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