For Immediate Release - February 1, 2013 (Newmarket) –  The Ontario SPCA will be appealing a decision of the Animal Care Review Board dated January 31, 2013 which holds for the first time that the Board has jurisdiction to hear and determine Charter issues instead of placing them before the courts, despite the summary nature of the process.

“The purpose of the ACRB is to allow individuals to have their issues decided quickly and inexpensively and Charter issues are both complex and expensive,” said Connie Mallory, Chief Inspector, Ontario SPCA.

“These are supposed to be simple and uncomplicated hearings that take place within 15 days and last an hour or two.  This hearing lasted 9 days over a period of 6 months," said Chief Inspector Mallory.

The hearing involved an appeal by Jessica Johnson from various orders made by the Ontario SPCA requiring her to seek veterinarian care for her dogs.  The hearing took up nine (9) days of the ACRB’s valuable time. This is neither quick nor inexpensive.  Ms. Johnson made serious allegations that Agents of the Ontario SPCA violated rights afforded to her under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  While agreeing that it had jurisdiction to hear the Charter related claims of Ms. Johnson, the ACRB categorically rejected Ms. Johnson’s claims that her Constitutional rights were violated.

“As it pertains to the Charter arguments, we are very pleased that the Board categorically rejected each of Ms. Johnson’s allegations of wrongdoing and found that agents of the Ontario SPCA acted appropriately and within the law,” added Chief Inspector Mallory.

The Ontario SPCA will launch its appeal within 15 days and will ask the Ontario Superior Court to rule that future constitutional claims should be decided by the Superior Court, thus preserving access to justice before the Board to deal with factual or statutory interpretation claims.

For more information contact:

Clayton Ruby
Ruby Shiller Chan Hasan
(416) 964-9664