The provincial government has proclaimed four sections of Bill 156, making it an offence to “stop, obstruct, hinder or otherwise interfere” with a vehicle transporting farm animals.
Why it matters: Dueling protests between animal rights activists and supporters of truckers have become flash points after an activist was killed after she tried to block a truck and couldn’t be seen by the driver.
Bill 156 was created by the provincial government in response to greater trespassing of activists onto farms. Those farms also had animals stolen and some of those activists were prosecuted but not convicted. That prompted a call for action by the government.
The legislation has been passed by the legislature and has received royal ascent but regulations are still being worked out before the bill is proclaimed. Consultations have been launched on the remaining parts of the act and the public can provide input by visiting Ontario’s Regulatory Registry until Oct. 15.
However, the select sections will come into effect Sept. 2.
“Stopping motor vehicles in traffic when they are transporting farm animals is dangerous for everyone, including those who stop the trucks, pedestrians, livestock transporters and other drivers,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). “As actions like this are on the rise and public safety is a top priority for the Ontario government, it is critical to bring these specific parts of the act into force immediately to ensure safety for everyone.”
The issue has escalated since the death of an activist June 19, 2020 at the Fearman’s Pork plant owned by Sofina Foods in Burlington. Supporters of truckers are filming activists and truckers themselves are livestreaming their arrival at the plant on Facebook.
The Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act creates zones around animal production, transportation and processing areas and being in those zones without authorization can mean higher fines for trespassing. Protestors can continue to congregate on public property.