Canadian Federation of Humane Societies

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Canadian Federation of Humane Societies
Abbreviation CFHS
Formation 1957
Type Animal welfare organizations in Canada
Legal status
Purpose advocate and public voice, educator and network
Headquarters Ottawa, Ontario
Region served
Official language
Website The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies

The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS) is the only national animal welfare organization representing humane societies, SPCAs, and animal rescue organizations across the country. The CFHS represents community-based provincial and territorial member societies on animal welfare issues of national importance and supports the work of its diverse membership.


Based in Ottawa, the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies is a not-for-profit organization originally founded in 1957 by individuals who worked on behalf of local societies across Canada. The work begun by the Federation over 50 years ago has resulted in significant changes for animals.

Currently the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies is led by Chief Executive Officer, Barbara Cartwright who joined CFHS in July 2011. Recent prior CEOs of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies include: Steve Carrol (2006-2011) and Robert Van Tongerloo (2000-2005).


The CFHS’s program work focuses on companion animals, livestock and legislation. The Federation continues to push hard for changes to Canada’s federal animal cruelty law, which was originally enacted in 1892 [1] and contains loopholes [2] that prevent the prosecution of some animal abusers. The Federation works with the Canadian livestock sector to improve standards of care for animals on farm, as well as in transit and at slaughter. As a founding member of the National Companion Animal Coalition, the CFHS has been involved in setting the standard for microchip identification for pets, and has worked on such issues as dog bite prevention, puppy mills and municipal bylaws for dogs and cats. The CFHS is also an ex-officio member of the Animal Welfare Committee of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association.[3]


The CFHS does not receive any government funding. It relies on donations from the public, corporate sponsorship and some membership fees to develop educational programs, to promote effective animal welfare legislation and to support, unite and represent local humane societies and SPCAs.


The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies is governed by a volunteer-based Board of Directors. Board members may be employed by member societies. The members of the Board meet four times each year (two face-to-face, two conference calls), while both the Executive and Finance Committees meet monthly. The CFHS website maintains a current list of directors.


Over 40 non-profit animal welfare organizations, humane societies and SPCAs operating in more than 100 communities across Canada are currently part of the CFHS’ trial and full membership. Through their donors and their members’ networks, the Federation reaches more than 400,000 people nationwide.


Animal Welfare in Focus [4] is the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies’ flagship publication. This tabloid size publication contains the latest news from the CFHS and member societies, as well as important animal welfare information from across Canada and around the world.

With over twenty years in publication, Animal Welfare in Focus has a diverse readership that includes member societies, animal welfare professionals, municipal leaders, federal decision makers, donors and the general public.

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