Weirdest Laws and Regulations in Canada
08 June, 2023
6 mins read
Canada is a welcoming, multicultural, diverse, and inclusive country. As the second-largest country in the world, Canada has a land area of 9.1 million square kilometres. With its towering mountains, grassy plains, forested valleys, and stunning blue rivers and lakes, Canada also boasts diverse scenery.
As for its educational scene, Canada has some of the world’s best educational institutions. Students, both locally and internationally, flock to the country to study at its top-ranked universities, specialised colleges, and renowned higher education institutions. Student life in Canada also adds to the study experience, making it the perfect study destination for many!
Students going to Canada to study are most likely to search for the rules and regulations of the country. After all, it is easy to fall victim to a traffic law you are not familiar with, pay a fine or two, or get a scolding from a police officer. It is amusing, however, when you stumble upon old laws that are still active about normal practices that are forbidden or natural happenings that are supposedly illegal. Laws and regulations are put together to keep order in society and protect people. However, the following laws keep you wondering about the reasons and the story behind them. Here are some weird laws in Canada you should keep an eye out for!
Weird Laws in Canada
1. Pet Rats, or Are They?
Did you know that it's illegal to have pet rats in Alberta? In Port Coquitlam, you can keep no more than four pet rats at a time. It makes you wonder what rat-related catastrophe happened for this law to be in place!
2. Say No to Whistling
It is illegal to whistle in Petrolia, Ontario. Yes, you read that right! That doesn't mean you'll be chased by a SWAT team while whistling the tune of your favourite song while walking down the street. However, there is an actual law written against it, Article 3, 772.3.6, on the town's website, stating that "yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling, or singing is prohibited at all times". Quiet time in Ontario might be taken a little too literally!
3. I’ll Pay in Coins, or Not
One of the weird laws in Canada is how you pay for purchases with a lot of coins. You are only allowed, by Canadian law, to use a maximum of 25 loonies (the Canadian dollar coin) and only 5 coins of 25 cents. Don't worry, the secret service won't track you down if you happen to pay $30 in loonie coins, but some vendors might use this law against you if they, for some reason, hate coins! So it's better to just spend them on gas station chocolates and gumball machines instead.
4. Parrots on Silent
If you own a parrot in Oak Bay, you could get fined $100 if it talks too loudly. It makes you wonder whose parrot was too loud to stir up drama with the law!
5. Short Snowmen Are in
If you think the weird laws in Canada have a limit, think again! Because once winter rolls around, you have to remember that there is an actual law saying you can't have a snowman that is higher than 30 inches. There was even a law against throwing around snow, but it seems to be taken less seriously as police would just be arresting 8-year-olds!
6. Stay in Your Colour Lane
It is against the law to paint a wooden ladder in Alberta. Meanwhile, Ottawa apparently has something against the colour purple since it is illegal to paint your house and garage doors in it! If you live in Beaconsfield, Quebec, someone may actually sue you for painting your house more than two colours!
7. Keep the Climbing to a Minimum
Oshawa has a law that bans climbing trees. The local law states, "No person shall interfere with a tree or part of a tree located on municipal property, including but not limited to attaching, affixing, or placing upon in any manner any object or thing to a tree or part of a tree, and climbing the tree." Even though it may seem like a strange law, it's the least strange one because tree climbing could, in fact, be dangerous.
8. On Sundays, We Don’t Eat Ice Cream
It is illegal to eat ice cream on Bank Street in Ottawa on Sundays. Any other day is good; just keep it indoors on Sunday.
9. Slow Down the Wi-Fi
Uxbridge, Ontario, has a law that forbids having a Wi-Fi connection faster than 56K. No explanation for that one, just an affinity to save up on megabytes!
10. Keep Your Reptiles Inside
It is against Fredericton, New Brunswick, law to 'wear' a snake in public or carry a pet lizard. If you want to sport a reptile accessory on the street, a fake one will have to do for now!
11. The Maple Syrup Chronicles
Canada doesn't mess around when it comes to maple syrup; there is an entire act of regulations dedicated to the homegrown tasty treat. There is one that states that it's illegal to claim a product is maple syrup when it's not: “No person shall market a product in import, export, or interprovincial trade in such a manner that it is likely to be mistaken for a maple product for which a grade or standard is established under these Regulations.” So don't go around telling people that chocolate sauce is maple syrup unless you’re prepared for sirens and a potential jail sleepover!
12. Anti-Casual Wear
In Halifax, Nova Scotia, taxi drivers are not allowed to wear t-shirts. Number 24 in Halifax's Regional Municipality Bylaws for Taxis and Limousines states that drivers must be dressed neatly and tidy at all times; they have to wear shoes and socks, keep their attire in, and absolutely cannot wear a t-shirt.
13. A Duel? No Thank You!
It is a criminal offence to challenge someone to a duel and/or accept an invitation to a duel in Canada. The law states the following: “Everyone who challenges or attempts by any means to provoke another person to fight a duel, attempts to provoke a person to challenge another person to fight a duel, or accepts a challenge to fight a duel, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years”. This rule has a maximum punishment of two years. So, don’t go around challenging people!
14. Clean Versions Only
In Toronto, it is illegal to swear in a public park. The rule, as seen in the Toronto Municipal Code, says, “While in a park, no person shall indulge in riotous, boisterous, violent, threatening, or illegal conduct or use profane or abusive language”. If you are found swearing, you could face a fine of over $200. Better keep your swearing indoors or just keep it to yourself for maximum safety!
15. Stop Comic Book Violence
In the 1940s, the Criminal Code of Canada prohibited the printing, publishing, or distribution of comic books that depicted crime. This is one of the weird laws in Canada that was created to protect children from the potentially “harmful influence” of crime-fighting heroes. Thankfully, as comic book culture became more and more mainstream, this law was replaced by the 1970s, but it still remains one of the most questionable weird laws in this country!
Despite the amusement you might feel upon reading about these laws, they can actually be enforced if someone does go to the police to complain about your loud parrot or your purple garage door! However, Canada's laws about the things that matter are actually top-notch! In fact, Canada is one of the safest countries in the world, which is among the many reasons why you should study in Canada. All you have to do is figure out what you want to study, which university you will study at, how to apply for it, and which student accommodation in Canada you will stay at.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the weirdest laws in Canada?
One of the weirdest laws in Canada is that it is considered illegal to paint a wooden ladder in the province of Alberta. According to the Alberta government's Occupational Health and Safety Code, a person must not paint a wooden ladder.
What is the weirdest law in Toronto?
Among the weird laws in Toronto, one states that a home may not hold more than two garage sales within a year, and each one may not last more than two days.
What are some weird outdated laws in Canada?
Some outdated, weird laws in Canada include the following: In Ponoka, Alberta, one must not build a mud hut or a house with a straw roof. In Collingwood, Ontario, one must not let their Canadian flag snap in the wind. Coloured margarine is illegal in Quebec. And in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, one must not leave a trail of nails, tacks, or glass behind them when they walk down the streets.