Whale captivity bill passes critical committee stage

A federal bill has passed the committee stage without any amendments, which will now send it back to the House of Commons for a third and final vote, which it is expected to pass. 

The bill would see the end of whales and dolphins living in captivity for entertainment purposes.

Bill S-203, will eventually phase out the captivity of cetaceans in Canada, except for rescues, rehabilitation, and licensed scientific research.

The bill was brought forward in 2015 by Senator Wilfred Moore, now retired, and was carried forward by Senator Murray Sinclair.

It received approval in the Senate in October 2018 after nearly three years of extensive review.

While it will make it a criminal offence to own, have custody of, or control of a cetacean in captivity, or to breed or impregnate a cetacean, there is also an exception for whales that are owned, in the custody of, or in the control of a person before the prohibition comes into force.

That means places such as Marineland in Niagara Falls are able to keep the whales and dolphins they currently have, but can no longer breed, or buy any new cetaceans.

We have reached out to Marineland for comment.