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Is Pepper Spray Illegal In Canada?

Yes. Pursuant to Schedule 3 of the Firearms Regulation SOR/98-462 Section 1 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.

Because pepper spray fits within subsection B it is considered an illegal weapon under the Firearm Act. This means that it is also an offence to manufacture, sell or use any type of spray that fits within the above definition is a criminal offence.

The Firearms Act, which is part of the Criminal Code of Canada, categorizes firearms and other weapons as non-restricted, restricted, or prohibited, with each classification resulting in varying criminal penalties for possession, manufacturing, or sale. As a result, carrying pepper spray is punishable by up to ten years in prison. And it’s better to take our criminal lawyer’s Calgary word for it.

What is the Difference Between Pepper Spray and Bear Spray, and is Bear Spray Also Illegal?

Bear spray is considered a chemical weapon used to defend people against bear attacks. It’s also a non-lethal weapon frequently confused with personal defence pepper spray due to its similar chemical breakdown.

The main differences between the two weapons are as follows:

 Pepper Spray is Prohibited, but Bear Spray is not

Bear spray is necessary for outdoor activities such as hiking, hunting, camping and fishing. For these reasons, it is not listed as a defined weapon.

Pepper Spray Has a Higher Concentration of the key Ingredient

The main ingredient in both sprays is oleoresin capsicum and sometimes referred to as OC Spray. This ingredient comes from the extract of cayenne peppers. Bear spray has a concentration of roughly 1%, whereas pepper spray has a concentration of 1-3%.

Because pepper spray is a prohibited weapon, if you are found in possession of it, you could be charged with a criminal offence. The penalties for weapon offences in Canada are serious, including long-term imprisonment and a criminal record.

Are there any Exceptions For Pepper Spray?

Currently, there is only one exception for bear sprays under the Pest Control Product Act. According to this act, the term ‘pest’ includes an animal that is injurious, noxious and troublesome. Based on this definition, bear spray fits easily into the category of pest-control products, which are legal in Canada. However, pepper spray does not fit under this exception.

Can Bear Spray Lead to a Criminal Offence?

Yes. It is important to note that if you are found carrying bear spray or being in possession of bear spray in an area which is not likely to have bears, then you will likely be charged with possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose as well as other associated criminal offences. Using bear spray on humans is also prohibited and can lead to criminal charges. If you have been charged or investigated with a weapon offence related to pepper spray, bear mace or any other prohibited weapon, contact the serious lawyers at Alberta Legal, who defend serious allegations every single day.

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