OHS Canada Magazine

Saskatchewan restricts possession of bear spray in urban areas

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March 15, 2024
By OHS Canada

Health & Safety

A grizzly bear in Alaska’s Denali National Park. Photo: NatureGuy/Adobe Stock

Saskatchewan is restricting the possession of bear spray  in public urban spaces in the province.

The regulations will also prohibit defacing or altering bear spray in order to hide or disguise the product’s identity. Those charged under the regulations could face potential fines of up to $100,000.

“Over the last few years, there have been thousands of public disturbances involving bear spray across the province,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Bronwyn Eyre said. “These new regulations will improve public safety and provide police and wildlife officers with more options to seize and charge people in possession of bear spray, including in shopping malls, movie theatres, urban parks and on exhibition grounds.”

The regulations will apply only to public urban areas, not rural or northern areas where bear spray is typically used for safety purposes, it said.

The regulations will not apply to those, including conservation officers, hunters, and hikers, who require protection from wildlife in the course of their employment or recreational activities.


People will be permitted to transport bear spray from a retail location to a place where it can be lawfully stored (eg., a private home) or lawfully used (eg., a camping trip). Lower capsaicin-concentration products (such as ‘dog spray’) will not apply under these regulations. The regulations also do not apply to retailers or impose additional record-keeping or identification requirements.

“These regulations are designed to ensure individuals who require bear spray for legitimate safety purposes are not impacted,” Corrections, Policing and Public Safety Minister Paul Merriman said. “Law enforcement will have the authority to identify and seize the product from any individual violating the regulations, which may also lead to charges.”

“The SACP is in support of any legislation that curbs the illegal use of a product for anything other than its intended purpose,” President of the Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police Chief Richard Lowen said. “We have seen far too many instances where capsaicin products (bear spray) have been used to commit offences, such as robberies, and this new legislation will provide police an additional tool to help reduce victimization.”

“Bear spray offences are something police officers in our city, and beyond, are dealing with almost daily,”  Regina Police Service Deputy Chief Lorilee Davies said. “Any time we have a new tool we can use to hold offenders accountable and deter such crimes, we welcome it.”

“Saskatchewan is bear country,” Environment Minister Christine Tell said. “The new regulations recognize this and make sure that bear spray remains available to help keep people safe as they work and play in the outdoors, while helping to keep it out of urban areas where it doesn’t belong.”

In limited, appropriate instances, a person may also be permitted to carry bear spray in an urban space if the holder can demonstrate a reasonable need to carry the product for protection; for example, if a bear was recently sighted near their community.


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