Learn about living with bears; creating bear smart communities; recreating in bear country; bear safety at work; and managing bears (for wildlife officials).


Bear Smart at Work

working safely in bear country

Bear Smart at work and in the field

Whether you’re building a subdivision in bear habitat or drilling an oil well, or you’re simply operating a business in a place where bears live, how you and your employees operate can have an impact the health of the local bear population. It only takes one food reward for a bear to learn that humans are a source of easy, high calorie meals, beginning a cycle of conflict that begins and ends with the death of the bear.

Here’s how you can make your workplace safe for people and bears.

  1. For large work sites, conduct a bear hazard assessment and develop (and implement) a human-bear conflict management plan that will keep employees and bears safe. Develop a bear-response plan that details how to respond to the presence of a bear.
  2. Hire or designate one person to be the on-site bear safety officer. This person should be well-trained to avoid and deal with human-bear conflicts, particularly the use of non-lethal deterrents.
  3. Train all employees and contractors about how to behave in bear country. Everyone working in bear habitat should understand how and why bears behave and know how to react to an encounter or attack. If you’re working in grizzly country, ensure you and your staff can tell the difference between a black and a grizzly bear. Everyone should be familiar with the bear-response plan and what their role is in implementing it should a bear arrive.
  4. The easiest way to keep bears out of facilities and work camps is to surround them with electric fencing. Portable electric fences are an inexpensive and easy way to keep people and bears safe.
  5. Secure all potential bear attractants. Whether you’re operating a large work camp or camping overnight in the field, all garbage and food must be stored securely. Landfills, transfer stations, garbage storage areas and food storage/preparation areas should be secured with an electric fence. Smaller garbage and food storage units should be bear-proof.
  6. All employees working in bear habitat should carry bear spray as a first line of defence. Bear spray has been found to be much more effective – and safer – than firearms. Click here to see the report.
  7. Consider prohibiting employees from carrying firearms. Bear safety officer(s) and/or local conservation officers should deal with conflict situations using non-lethal bear management techniques.

NOTE: The Canadian Criminal Code (Section 217.1) states that “Every one who undertakes, or has the authority, to direct how another person does work or performs a task is under a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to that person, or any other person, arising from that work or task.” For this reason, proper training is recommended for all those working in bear country. For more information click here.


Video: Working Safely in Bear Country

Working in Bear Country is a 20-minute video that provides detailed information specific to people working in bear country. It is especially relevant to industry managers and supervisors responsible for the safety of workers.

Working in Bear Country is not a stand-alone education video. It is essential for people to be familiar with the content of Staying Safe in Bear Country before viewing Working in Bear Country. The script is available on-line.

Copies of these videos can be purchased online from Kodiak Wildlife Products Inc. They can be purchased for home use or with Public Presentation Rights (PPR), which means they are licenced to allow showings to non-paying audiences.


Download brochures and flyers for work or your business. Most of our guides can be printed on 8.5 x 11″ paper; front and back; and then folded twice. Flyer-style guides can be printed on 8.5x 11″ paper.

For more information, see our brochures on Working in Bear Country and Best Practices Guide for Business.

Bear Safety Guide for Tree Planters – English or French Version
As a tree planter working in prime bear habitat, you have a greater probability of encountering a bear. This pamphlet outlines information essential to your safety.

Construction Site Managers

Bear Smart Practices for Developers and Construction Sites – download.

Bear Smart Construction Site Management StrategyStaying safe while building in bear country – a bear smart guide for constructions sites in Whistler – download.

Guidelines for Bear Smart Buildings – Suggestions and regulations on building structures in bear country – download.

See this article for more tips.

Click to view Guidelines for Industrial Activity in Bear Country.

Whistler Businesses & Other Commercial Applications:

Bear Smart Best Practices Guide for Whistler Businesses – download folding brochure.

Wildlife Smart Landscaping for Whistler – A Professional’s Guide. Bear food plant list.

Handling Restaurant Grease: bear-proof grease vessels – download.

Bear-proofing Garbage Enclosures – download.

  • Permit Process Flow Chart
  • Whistler Garbage Enclosure Design Guidelines
  • Wildlife Resistant Container Guidelines
  • Development Permit Application & Checklist
  • Building Permit Application & Checklist
  • Garbage Disposal and Wildlife Attractants Bylaw No. 1861, 2008