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Enforcement of Leash Bylaw at Arboretum


RDOC has learned of Agriculture Canada’s intention to enforce leash laws at the Arboretum in Ottawa, Ontario and is currently investigating this matter.  We have some information from the City of Ottawa and a preliminary opinion from a lawyer regarding the legality of applying and enforcing City of Ottawa Bylaws on federal land.   

As Agriculture Canada does not have regulations, City Bylaws may be applied provided they are invited to do so by Agriculture Canada and an agreement is clearly in place.  Consequently, the City of Ottawa, not the NCC as has been reported, is legally capable of coming onto the property and enforcing the City Bylaw regarding off leash dogs. 

Although RDOC is continuing its study of the issue, the preliminary finding of the lawyer is that a challenge of the enforcement of the City’s bylaws on federal land would not be an easy task.  A challenge would most likely be based on the tradition of off leash walking at the Arboretum or what is considered an estoppels case. 

RDOC will prepare a petition for submission to Agriculture Canada.  If they are agreeable, RDOC will try to negotiate an agreement that might include off leash hours or a specific off leash area.  Support from dog owners will be critical.  [download the petition here]

The fine to walk your dog off leash in an area that is designated on leash is $125.  The City of Ottawa typically works to a “response on complaint” basis.  However, if a complaint is made, City Bylaw Officers will respond.  According to our information, ticketing for offences will commence December 1st.

RDOC hopes to have a petition available and posted on the RDOC website in the next few days.   

November 24, 2008


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