Breaking down BSL

| December 10, 2021

Reporters and animal advocates filled our boardroom on November 21st to hear MPP Rick Nicholls, MPP David Piccini, and former MPP Cheri DiNovo announce the tabling of a Private Members Bill to repeal Breed Specific Legislation. It was fascinating to watch Mr. Nicholls (who tabled the bill) speak on the bill’s origin, the motivation behind it, and how, with the help of animal advocates, it has gotten to where it is today. The highlight of the conference was when the now Reverend Dr. Cheri DiNovo quipped that BSL was “written so badly,” the descriptions it provides for identifying pit bulls (broad jaw, short hair, a tail) would “describe almost every man in the legislature”.

But the day’s excitement wasn’t over. Later that afternoon, we all learned that the motion was passed in its second reading and has since moved on to the next stage of its journey: Standing Committee on General Government. We are now even closer to ending the ban of pit bulls in Ontario. This is a huge win for animal advocates who, since 2005, have been voicing their opposition to this haphazard and harmful ban.

Quick facts from the conference:

  • Ontario is the only province with breed specific legislation
  • Peer reviewed analysis of all dog bites in Canada as of 2013 showed no difference between jurisdictions with BSL and those without
  • Ontario recently introduced the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act (PAWS) which introduces a new enforcement model in Ontario, modernizing the legislative framework and introduces the strictest possible penalties in Canada.
  • The Private Members Bill is supported by the New Democratic and the Green Party
  • MPP Nicholls tabled the Private Members’ Bill on November 20, 2019

The fight doesn’t end here. There is still so much to be done. Beyond paying attention to the next stage of the bill, we can continue spreading the word and pressing our representatives for change. Visit to learn more about what you can do to help keep the momentum going.