Humane Canada Standards of Practice and Accreditation Program


Barbara Cartwright, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS)


Many industries have codes of conduct, standards and certification programs that clearly set out good practices and assure members of the public that they are dealing with trustworthy organizations. There are programs in Canada that set welfare standards for farm animals (the National Farm Animal Care Council Codes of Practice, SPCA Certified and Humane Certified), for animals in research (the Canadian Council on Animal Care’s Certificate of Good Animal Practice), and for veterinary care in medicine (the American Animal Hospital Association). However, none of these are aimed at the animal welfare sector itself and, in particular, humane societies, SPCAs, shelters and rescues.

Meanwhile, our sector faces three distinct challenges to our future growth and success: a proliferation of organizations and individuals with animal welfare mandates, a lack of commonly shared brand and a lack of shared standards and best practices. In order to address these areas of concern, CFHS has embarked on a process to set industry standards with a supporting accreditation program. This presentation will outline a strong case for a standards and accreditation program and the process that CFHS is engaged in to establish one. The presenter will also invite thoughts and feedback into the process from participants.


  1. The features and benefits of standards and accreditation as tools to build a strong, professional industry and maintain public confidence.
  2. Current standards programs in Canada and key learnings that can be applied to an animal welfare sector standards program.
  3. The process of building a standards and accreditation program for the animal welfare sector.


An award-winning leader in animal welfare, conservation and education, Barbara Cartwright’s work has spanned five continents and 20 years. Her extensive experience in developing and facilitating relationships with stakeholders, including governments, corporations and NGOs has led to innovative programs with dynamic results. Barbara is sought after for her knowledge of policy and public affairs. She has secured amendments to federal legislation including updates to the Criminal Code, the Migratory Bird Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Barbara has advised some of the top organizations in the world on animal welfare policy direction, including her work with eBay to end the illegal ivory trade on its site worldwide. Today, as the CEO of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS), Barbara convenes and represents the largest animal welfare community in Canada, working to end animal cruelty, improve animal protection and promote the humane treatment of all animals. She leads CFHS in fulfilling its mission to create a humane Canada through the successful execution of strategic and business plans. Over the past five years, Barbara has launched the National Animal Welfare Conference, the National Centre for the Prosecution of Animal Cruelty and released the first empirical sector-wide research project on humane societies and SPCAs in Canada. She is consulted by all political parties on issues of animal welfare, including updating legislation and consulting on policy documents such agricultural and food policy. Barbara has presented to the House of Commons and the Senate of Canada, the all-party International Conservation Caucus, the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), as well as at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Congress. She holds a Master’s in Environmental Education and Communication, is a published author, a lecturer and a recipient of the Governor General’s Gold Medal, as well as the National Environmental Excellence Award. She is the former President of the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada, an Advisory Council Member for the Pan-African Sanctuary Alliance and currently sits on the PetSmart Charities of Canada Board of Directors. Barbara is a member of Women’s Executive Network, the Council of Women Executives and part of the Distinctive Women network.