VICTORIA – An amendment to Bill 37, the Animal Health Act, more clearly defines a “person” as it relates to the proposed legislation, Agriculture Minister Don McRae announced on Tuesday, May 29.
“We’ve heard from various groups that the original wording in Bill 37 left some ambiguity as to who a ‘person’ was referring to, and therefore who might be impacted by the new act,” said Don McRae, Minister of Agriculture. “There was never any intention to include the general public, interest groups or media, but rather only persons directly involved in administering the act. While I’m confident the original wording would have passed legal muster, it just makes more sense to clear up any confusion with a simple amendment. It also reflects our government’s commitment to not only engaging the public, but acting on suggested improvements.”
The amendment to Sections 16 and 118 of the act specifically references a person as being that already described in sections 17 or 18. Debate on the proposed Animal Health Act is currently in committee stage in the legislature.
The new Animal Health Act will ensure B.C.’s reputation as a producer of safe and healthy animals and foods. It will help prevent the spread of animal disease as well as improving the response to a potential outbreak.
In the event of a confirmed disease outbreak, information would be made public just the same way it has always been, typically through the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Fisheries and Oceans Canada or the Province’s chief veterinarian.
Updating British Columbia’s animal health legislation to match other provinces and countries is essential to meet the Province’s Agrifoods Strategy commitment to expand domestic and international markets.