TORONTO — Animal rights activists say a proposed law to protect farmers from aggressive protesters will trample freedom of speech.
The activists told a legislative committee today that bill — dubbed the Security from Trespass and Animal Safety Act — will violate the Charter of Rights and will spark legal challenges.
The bill was introduced in 2019 by the Ontario government and would hike fines for trespassing on farms and food-processing facilities.
The government has said the proposed law would help ensure the biosecurity of the province’s food supply while also striking a balance which ensures the right to protest.
Under the legislation, fines for trespassing would be set at a maximum of $15,000 for a first offence and up to $25,000 for subsequent offences, compared to current maximum trespassing fines of $10,000.
The bill could be passed into law later this month by the Progressive Conservative government.