OHS Canada Magazine

Manitoba to require photo ID for sales of bear spray after rise in use as weapon

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April 13, 2023
By OHS Canada

Health & Safety Bear Spray bears manitoba

Baby black bear playing in the tree. Photo: AB Photography/Adobe Stock

Manitoba will require vendors who sell bear spray to obtain photo identification and validate customer information before sales can be completed.

“Bear repellent is increasingly being used as a weapon and a number of recent assaults highlight the urgent need to make changes in the interest of public safety,” said Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen. “Requiring photo identification and validated contact information at the point of purchase will deter people from using bear spray illegally, but not prohibit legal purchases. It will also assist with tracing in the event of an incident.”

The sale of bear repellent is regulated under Manitoba’s Pesticides and Fertilizers Control Act, which requires anyone who supplies, sells or distributes a pesticide to obtain a licence. Under the act, a person with a pesticide dealers licence is required to keep a record of all commercial and restricted products they sell. If the product contains capsaicin, the purchaser must complete and sign a declaration of purchaser form that includes their name, contact information, and the product and quantity purchased.

Purchasers will now be required to provide photo identification and specify the intended use of the product. Vendors will be required to verify a purchaser’s identification against government-issued identification, and submit this information to the Manitoba government. In addition, vendors must also register the serial numbers for any sale of more than two cans.

“Manitoba already has strong protections in place to ensure the sale and proper application of bear spray through the Pesticides and Fertilizers Control Act,” said Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson. “These regulatory changes go further to ensure bear spray is kept out of the hands of dangerous criminals who would use it to harm others while still allowing for its use by law-abiding citizens.”


The Manitoba government is also asking the federal government to consider stronger restrictions for online sales of bear repellent in Canada and will be considering potential future legislative changes to change the age requirements to purchase bear spray in Manitoba, Goertzen noted.


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