Edmonton changes bylaw to regulate bear spray sales after rise in assaults

Edmonton's city council discussed a number of issues Wednesday – including new limits on bear spray and transparency around city councillor’s code of conduct.

By News Staff

Edmonton’s city council on Wednesday voted unanimously to approve several amendments to the business licence bylaw to regulate the sale of Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) spray, commonly known as bear spray.

Among other measures, it is now prohibited to sell bear spray to anyone under the age of 18. The amendments also require those selling bear spray to record transactions with information such as serial number, name and date of birth.

Council members say the amendments aim to regulate the business activities surrounding the sale of OC 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 OC spray will not only reduce its illegal use but help make our whole community stronger and safer.”

Bylaw violations related to transaction recording, product security and the OC spray buyer’s guide would be subject to a fine of $1,000 for a first offence. Violations of the minimum age for seller and buyer could come with a $2,000 fine. Subsequent fines would be doubled.

City council made the bylaw based on recommendations provided by the Edmonton Police Service.

An EPS report shows incidents involving bear or pepper spray have risen from around 1,700 incidents in 2015, to more than 3,300 last year.

CityNews tested how easy it was to get a can of bear spray at a convenience store on Whyte Avenue, and were able to get it over the counter without being asked for ID or to sign anything.

That easy access is what the city is now trying to stop, changes to the business bylaw mean stores will now need a license to sell the spray, as well as require identification, and strictly record all transactions with customers who buy it.

-With files from Darcy Ropchan

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today