There is no such thing as a dumb question. Many people have not traveled to Canada, and if they have in the past, it may be decades earlier. Rules change and you need to know the answers before you get to the border. Ask the questions on your mind, so you have a hassle-free border crossing.
Yes, you can but as long as your bear spray meets Canadian rules. The canister should be marked with USEPA on the label. Other bear sprays may not be accepted if it does not carry that logo on the label. Just check the rules prior to your departure so you have up-to-date information.
To learn more about this rule and if you can travel with bear spray, just continue to read our article. It is filled with the information you want to know about so you can have a legal and safe border crossing. Know the rules for your return to America as well.
Yes, this is possible but there are a couple of rules you should follow before you hit the border. The can must have the above logo printed on the label and the label must indicate that its intended use is for bears only.
Then, the size of the can cannot be larger than 500 ml. That is not a bad size because of one important issue. You can buy bear spray at the local Canadian Tire department store if you think you need more.
You really do not have to bring the spray with you if you think there is a chance it won’t be allowed across the border. We say that because rules change. What we report here may not be accurate in a month due to these unannounced rule changes.
Then, there are very few spots in Canada where you will need this spray. Western Alberta, British Columbia, and the Yukon are about the only provinces that have a large bear population.
Those provinces have safe camping spots and nice cities to stop in where there are no bears. Just plan your journey well, and that will minimize the use or need for bear spray.
We have given you some of the information you need to know before heading to Canada with bear spray. Here is the law on this spray and we will quote it completely so there is nothing lost in translation:
“Bear spray is legal and only sold for use in wilderness situations in which an individual is likely to encounter a bear. As a result, if a person was to carry bear spray or pepper spray in their pocket while walking around in the city, they may be charged for carrying a concealed weapon under s. 90 (1) of the Criminal Code of Canada.
S. 90 (1) states:
90 (1) Every person commits an offense who carries a weapon, a prohibited device, or any prohibited ammunition concealed unless the person is authorized under the Firearms Act to carry it concealed.
(2) Every person who commits an offense under subsection (1)
(a) is guilty of an indictable offense and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or
(b) is guilty of an offense punishable on summary conviction.
It is also important that the original labels be kept on the product as the bear spray must say it is designed to be used on animals.” (source- https://www.torontodefencelawyers.com/understanding-bear-spray-laws-in-canada/ )
Only if you use it on another person or carry it in your pocket, etc., around a major city or town. You may not think that is right since bear spray and pepper spray are the same thing.
However, pepper spray, as well as Mace and similar products are illegal to own in Canada. If you continue to research this topic, you will find the following information:
“This could include charges for possession of a prohibited weapon under s. 92 (1) of the Criminal Code” (same source). But what makes it a bit more ridiculous is that the Canadian criminal code also states:
“Any device designed to be used for the purpose of injuring, immobilizing or otherwise incapacitating any person by the discharge therefrom of
(a) tear gas, Mace, or other gas, or
(b) any liquid, spray, powder, or other substance that is capable of injuring, immobilizing, or otherwise incapacitating any person. (same source and bold ours)
If you throw laundry detergent in the eyes of your attacker, that laundry soap could be considered a weapon. You need to watch yourself when you travel in Canada as the laws are very different from American laws.
There are some things you should be on the lookout for when you go shopping for this product. Here are a few of them:
- bear spray shoots out up to 33 feet so do not confuse bear spray with pepper spray
- look at the expiration date on the can- not a good product to have on hand when it is no good to you
- make sure the safety cap is in place and included in your purchase
- does the label say bear spray or bear repellent
- the size and strength of the spray
One thing to note, you may already have dog spray in your RV or trailer but that is not strong enough to ward off a bear. You will need bear spray to defend yourself when a bear enters your camp.
If you are in doubt about carrying bear spray across the border, then wait till you get into Canada. Canadians know a lot about bears and they will have the best bear spray product possible on their store shelves.
That is the best route to take because you never know when the border rules will change. Just do not use the spray on a human and you should be fine.