Ontario is proposing a pilot program that will enhance public safety while offering an effective response to nuisance bear issues in the north.

black bear 1Ontario has proposed a two-year bear management pilot program in wildlife management units 13, 14, 29, 30, 36, 39, 41 and 42, all of which have reported high levels of nuisance bear activity. Communities in and around these units include Timmins, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie and North Bay. A limited bear hunt open to Ontario residents only would take place from May 1 to June 15, 2014 and 2015.

Under the proposed pilot, hunting bear cubs or females with cubs would be illegal. The province will monitor and evaluate the success of this pilot project on an ongoing basis.
In order to participate, municipal councils would have to pass a resolution agreeing to opt into the program. Ontario will continue to work with municipalities on ways to limit human-bear interactions.
We will work together as One Ontario to build a successful, compassionate and united province where everyone has the opportunity to connect, contribute and enjoy a high quality of life.

” Public safety is paramount and Ontarians should feel safe in their communities. We have heard increasingly from some northern Ontario municipalities that they are concerned about public safety and human-bear conflicts. In response, we are taking action in a strategic way to address the areas of highest incidence.”
– David Orazietti
Minister of Natural Resources
” Sault Ste. Marie is remarkable for its natural beauty, a quality that brings residents and visitors in close contact with wildlife of all kinds. City council will continue to encourage residents to take preventive measures. However, this pilot is a new measure we can add to the tools at our disposal to keep people safe from nuisance bears.”
– Debbie Amaroso
Mayor of Sault Ste. Marie
” The increase in human-bear conflicts in northern municipalities has put local residents at risk and has created safety concerns for police. This new provincial proposal is a positive step towards addressing this very real problem and represents a clear sign from the province that they have listened to northerners and are serious about improving safety for those who are forced to deal with nuisance bears on a daily basis.”
– Paul Cook
Chief of Police for North Bay, President of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police
” Everyone wants to do their part to keep our children safe. I’m pleased to see the action being taken to protect all residents, particularly school children, from nuisance bears here in Sault Ste. Marie and in other communities in Northern Ontario.”
– Lucia Reece
Director of Education, Algoma District School Board
” We teach children that respect for nature is at the core of our values. However, when it comes to child safety, it is important that we look for ways to balance human-bear interactions over the long term.”
– John Stadnyk
Director of Education, Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board
” As a mayor and a northerner I understand the dangers nuisance bears can cause and the public safety issue they create. I wholeheartedly support this pilot project and I am grateful for the government’s leadership on this important issue.”
– Tom Laughren
Mayor of Timmins

• Ontario is home to a healthy and sustainable black bear population with up to 105,000 black bears living in the province.
• Currently across Canada, each province and territory with black bears has a spring and fall bear hunt except Nova Scotia and Ontario, which only have fall hunts.
• The public will be invited to comment on the two-year pilot project through Ontario’s Environmental Registry in 2014.