Manitoba retailers that sell bear spray now have to collect more personal information from shoppers, and submit it to the government.
Under new regulatory requirements, anyone buying bear spray from a Manitoba retailer must also specify the intended use of the product. Vendors must now verify a purchaser’s identification against government-issued identification, and submit the information to the Manitoba government.
The sale of bear repellent is already regulated under the province’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 dealer’s 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.
According to Manitoba’s Agriculture Minister, Derek Johnson, “the 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.” Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen is similarly optimistic, noting that “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.”
Given how readily available bear spray is from online vendors, the ministers’ optimism is perhaps overstated.