ACTION ALERT: Ontario Bill 91 puts wildlife at risk

Red fox
A red fox (Vulpes vulpes) stands among pine trees in Ontario.
Photo by RT-Images / Getty Images

The Ontario government is attempting to allow new and the transfer of licenses for trial and train areas through legislation in Bill 91. Though a public consultation through the Environmental Registry of Ontario (until May 18, 2023) is seeking input on this issue, a portion of Bill 91 is dedicated to enshrining access to these licenses in law. 

What are dog train and trial areas?

  • Dog train and trial areas are enclosed pens where hunters train dogs to hunt wildlife (train) and run competitions for hunting dogs (trial).
  • Operators acquire wild animals and hold them captive, using them to train dogs in these pens.
  • Wild foxes and coyotes are captured through trapping, rabbits are purchased from existing facilities or through other means authorized by the Ministry.
  • Foxes, coyotes, and rabbits are kept in captivity in these facilities, used in the hunting pens to train dogs or in competitions.

What are the proposed changes?

  • In 1997, the Ontario Government phased-out train and trial areas, grandfathered the existing facilities, prohibited the transfer of licenses, and ended the issuance of licenses for new facilities.
  • The proposed changes will allow for:
    • the issuance of new licenses through a one-time, 90-day application period; and,
    • the transfer of existing licenses to new operators.

What this means for wildlife

Hunting pens are inhumane and unethical. Wild animals such as foxes, coyotes, and rabbits are captured and held in captivity only to be subjected to cruelty, abuse, and suffering through the training and trialing of hunting dogs. These archaic facilities have no place in today’s society.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s proposed changes demonstrate the complete disrespect towards wild animals by catering to the requests of hunters (the ministry’s notice states: “Over time, the ministry has received requests for changes to allow dog train and trial areas to continue to persist, including allowing for licence transfers in response to aging licence holders, as well as new licences to be issued.”)

Take Action

This action is separate from comments to the ERO consultation process, as it specifically deals with proposed legislation in Bill 91.

Use the form below to contact MPP Graydon Smith, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources, as well as your Ontario MPP. If you are outside of Canada, please contact the Ministry directly by emailing

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