Saskatchewan to restrict bear spray in public urban spaces

REGINA — The Saskatchewan government says it’s restricting bear spray in public urban spaces.

The province says people won’t be able to spray the product in public areas and could face fines of up to $100,000.

Justice Minister Bronwyn Eyre says over the last few years, the use of bear spray has caused thousands of public disturbances across the province.

She says the regulations are meant to improve public safety and provide law enforcement with more options to charge people in possession of the product.

The province says the regulations don’t apply to rural and northern areas, and hunters and hikers there can continue to carry bear spray for their safety.

It says people can still buy bear spray, but they must keep it at home.

People can carry bear spray in urban areas under certain circumstances, but they need to demonstrate a reasonable need to do so, the province said. For example, they may need it if a bear was recently seen in their community.

Deputy Chief Lorilee Davies, with Regina police, said officers are dealing with bear spray offences almost daily.

"Any time we have a new tool we can use to hold offenders accountable and deter such crimes, we welcome it," she said in a news release.

Retailers don’t need to do additional record keeping when selling bear spray.

The regulations don’t apply to products that contain lower concentrations of capsaicin, such as dog spray.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 12, 2024.

The Canadian Press