The Saskatchewan government announced new bear spray regulations last month, which could lead to fines of up to $100,000. 

Rick Johns, deputy chief with the Moose Jaw Police Service, shared what this means for local police. “The new regulations provide authorities to police to lay charges and seize bear spray and items such as bear spray when found in people’s possession in public and in urban areas, assuming that they don’t meet those exemptions to possess it.” 

The regulations for the capsaicin-containing products don’t apply to rural or northern areas where the spray is used against wildlife for safety. 

Individuals are not allowed to possess the spray in Moose Jaw. “That would include urban parks such as Wakamow, unless they are exempt, or they can demonstrate a need for protection from wildlife,” said Johns.  

People can transport the spray if they’re taking it somewhere it can be lawfully used, such as a campsite, or if they are transporting it from a store where it was purchased to a private home for storage.  

Moose Jaw has seen 19 charges related to bear spray in the last 5 years. “We’ve seen bear spray used as a result of assaults and robberies – usually in the commission of another offence,” said Johns.  

He hopes that the new regulations deter unlawful use and possession of bear spray. “As well, it gives police and wildlife officers the legal authority to seize and lay appropriate charges under the Wildlife Act if the circumstances dictate that.” 

Aside from charges for carrying bear spray in urban areas, the new regulations also make people subject to the fines for defacing the products.  

“I would encourage everybody to familiarize themselves with the new regulations, and ensure they are in compliance,” said Johns.