New provincial regulations will restrict the possession of capsaicin-containing wildlife control products, otherwise known as 'bear spray', in public urban spaces in Saskatchewan. 

The regulations will also prohibit defacing or altering bear spray 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 province pointed out some pieces of their new legislation:

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