Starting April 1st, 2023 a new bylaw will come into effect in the city of Toronto. While feeding wildlife was never permitted, the city will be clamping down harder on residents or visitors still insisting to feed urban wildlife, whether in parks or on private property.
Currently, anyone convicted of the offence of feeding wildlife can be fined up to $365. Stiffer fines may be expected after the new bylaw take effect, although they have yet to be announced.
The move to toughen up on existing regulations and introducing a new bylaw was likely sparked by a recent increase in coyote attacks in some parts of Toronto as well as other cities in Southern Ontario.
Aside from the obvious - inviting wildlife into direct conflict with people and pets - we are not doing wild animals any favors by feeding them human or even pet foods. Their dietary requirements differ greatly from those of our pets and what we feed them may well make them very sick. Wild animals are skilled hunters and foragers; they can do much better on their own.
The city of Toronto stated that the emphasis will be on educating the public to encourage compliance - but the bylaw with the option of heavy fines is there if need be.
You may still feed and enjoy songbirds, so long as your feeders are secure and sanitary. Keep in mind, that bird seed also attracts squirrels, chipmunks, and even bears. Photographers are urged to practice their craft ethically; do not bait with food.
All wildlife should be enjoyed from afar. Especially coyotes or raccoons must not be approached. If you encounter a coyote in a residential neighbourhood, call 3-1-1 and seek shelter. If you find yourself hosting raccoons in your yard or worse, in your home, call Hawkeye at 416.429.5393. All of our technicians are licensed trappers and experienced in handling wildlife.