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Edmonton to regulate bear spray sales

Bear spray will become more difficult to purchase in Edmonton.

Edmonton City Council has approved a number of amendments to the Business Licence Bylaw to regulate the sale of bear spray. The amendments aim to regulate the business activities surrounding the sale of bear spray products to improve public safety and limit the adverse impacts of spray use in public places.

“Maintaining the safety and well-being of Edmontonians is key to ensuring our city remains an inviting and liveable city,” said Mayor Amarjeet Sohi. “Regulating and enforcing the possession and use of [bear spray] will not only reduce its illegal use but help make our whole community stronger and safer.”

The new amendments include: 

  • Adding a new business licence category to regulate businesses which choose to sell bear spray products. 
  • Prohibiting the sale of bear spray to a person under 18 years of age.
  • Requiring retail stores to have an employee who is at least 18 years of age to oversee bear spray sales.
  • Recording transactions involving the sale of bear spray, including the serial number, brand name, quantity, date, along with the buyer’s name, photo identification type and either the buyer’s identification number or date of birth.
  • Requiring retailers to secure all bear spray products and prevent the public from accessing them directly.
  • Requiring businesses to provide a buyers guide with City-approved messaging on appropriate and inappropriate uses of bear spray, and the consequences of using it on another person. 

The bylaw creates consistency in what information is captured by a business during a sale of these products, putting businesses on equal footing. This consistency may also help identify the purchaser of bear spray where reasonable grounds exist for an investigation.

Bylaw violations related to transaction recording, product security and the bear spray buyers guide would be subject to a fine of $1,000 for a first offence. Violations of the minimum age requirements for the buyer and seller would be subject to a fine of $2,000 for a first time offence. As is currently required by the Bylaw, fine amounts would be doubled for subsequent offences.

Edmonton City Hall.