Will I get in trouble for owning a monkey?

 No, you're not crazy.  A lot of people wonder if it's legal to get a monkey!

The Ikea incident with a rogue monkey pet and adorable Marcel from the hit TV show, Friends, have left many animal-enthusiasts day-dreaming about cuddling with a human-like furry companion!  

The laws for exotic animal ownership are specified by region across Canada, and the legal rules you'll be looking for should be detailed on the "Prohibited Animals" lists as outlined on an official legal website or document for each territory.  We did our digging, and it looks like primates are prohibited across the board!  Even if you do find a pocket with an exception, there's a strong likelihood the prohibition is filed with slightly different wording and under a different section of the law.  

Here is Toronto's list of prohibited animals, according to Toronto.ca:

  • "Cattle, goats, sheep, pigs – and other Artiodactyla

  • Coyotes, wolves, foxes, hybrid wolf dogs – and other Canidae except dogs

  • Bats such as fruit bats, myotis, flying foxes – and other Chiroptera

  • Anteaters, sloths, armadillos – and other Edentates

  • Tigers, leopards, cougars – and other Felidae except domestic cats

  • Hyenas – and other Hyaenidae

  • Hares, pikas – and other Lagomorpha except domestic rabbits

  • Kangaroos, opossums, wallabies – and other Marsupials except sugar gliders derived from self-sustaining captive populations

  • Mink, skunks, weasels, otters, badgers – and other Mustelidae except domestic ferrets

  • Chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, lemurs – and other non-human primates

  • Horses, donkeys, jackasses, mules – and other Perissodactyla

  • Elephants – and other Proboscidae

  • Coatimundi, cacomistles, raccoons – and other Procyonidae

  • Porcupines, prairie dogs – and other Rodentia except rodents which do not exceed 1,500 grams and are derived from self-sustaining captive populations

  • Bears – and other Ursidae

  • Mongooses, civets, genets – and other Viverridae "

Back to the question: "Can you own a monkey in Canada?"  We're sorry to disappoint, but the answer is, "No," you cannot own a monkey in Ontario, and most probably not in any other part of Canada, either.  We think this may be for the best - after all, are these beautiful creatures not happiest in their natural habitat?

Original date of publishing: July 17, 2021

Interested in supporting primate rescue ? Check out Wildfutures.org


The information presented in Legal Articles should not be taken as official legal advice.  If you are looking for a licensed lawyer to answer your questions, check out The Canadian Bar Association:

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