OHS Canada Magazine

Bear encounters more common in spring – here’s who to call


April 15, 2022
By OHS Canada

Health & Safety bears wildlife

With spring comes the potential for workers and residents to come into contact with bears.

The Ontario government is reminding people that bears may wander into urban areas in search of good, but “not every bear sighting is an emergency.”

It provides the following advice and information about who to call in the province if you encounter a bear.

Non-emergency encounters

Call the toll-free Bear Wise reporting line at 1-866-514-2327 (TTY 705-945-7641) if a bear is:

  • Moving through a backyard or field but is not lingering
  • Roaming around the neighbourhood
  • Checking garbage cans
  • Breaking into a shed where garbage or food is stored
  • Knocking over a barbecue
  • Pulling down a bird feeder
  • In a tree

This line operates 24-hours a day, seven days a week, from April 1 to Nov. 30. Staff can provide advice about bear behaviour, how to avoid human-bear encounters, and how to manage attractants on your property.

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Emergency situations

Call 911 or your local police force if a bear poses an immediate threat to personal safety. Some threatening or aggressive behaviours include:

  • Entering a schoolyard when school is in session
  • Stalking people and lingering on-site
  • Entering or trying to enter a residence
  • Wandering into a public gathering
  • Killing livestock/pets and lingering on site.

Police are first responders for any emergency. If requested by police, the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry may respond to emergencies to assist during daylight hours.

Visit ontario.ca/bearwise for tips on how to prevent human-bear encounters and avoid attracting bears.

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