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Home Centennial College Blog 2018 June 29 Seven strange Canadian laws to watch out for

Seven strange Canadian laws to watch out for

Female student with scales of justice

If laws and criminal justice interests you, and you're looking to help vulnerable people, then Centennial College's Community and Justice Services program is for you. It helps you gain the knowledge and skills you need to work with at-risk populations that are incarcerated or in the justice system, and help rehabilitate them. When working in community and justice services, there’s always a chance you could run into one of Canada’s stranger laws, as we certainly have a lot of them.

, The Globe and Mail, The Loop and Slice have compiled lists of these laws, and here are some of the country’s strangest. Bear in mind, most of these laws served a specific purpose when they were created. Maybe a local situation demanded it, or maybe the laws are just from a different time (something CTV called “zombie laws.”) Either way, they come off as a little strange now.

You can’t pay for something with a giant pile of loose change

We’re not talking a handful of quarters, luckily. We’re talking about a ridiculous pile of hundreds of coins. As specifically stated in the Canadian Currency Act of 1985, you can’t, for example, pay 50 dollars in nickels. So, if you’re thinking of pranking a cashier with a huge pile of coins, the store can refuse to take them.

Being a witch is fine. Pretending to be a witch is illegal

We’ve certainly progressed a long way since Salem. Once again, it’s in the Code, and it seems like it was created to prevent people from being scammed.

All Maple Syrup has to be real

There’s a bit of truth to the Canadian stereotype when there’s a law specifically about maple syrup. Basically, it’s illegal to make people think a product is maple when it isn’t. In fact, there’s an entire act about maple syrup regulations beyond that. If you look closely at Aunt Jemima syrup, you’ll see that it doesn’t say “maple” anywhere on it.

When riding a motorcycle on the road, stay in the lanes

This is one I see a lot of motorcyclists disobeying while they’re on the road. If you’re on a motorcycle, you’re not allowed to lane-split, meaning you can’t ride between lanes of moving traffic, even if there’s plenty of space for your bike to fit. It’s just too dangerous.

You’re not allowed to startle the Queen

Aside from the usual laws against worse things, there’s a separate section to the Criminal Code that says you’re not allowed to intentionally frighten or alarm the Queen, or you could go to prison for up to 14 years. Apparently, this is left over from the Treason Act of 1842, created after a British man pointed a gun at the Queen without firing it.

You can’t transport liquor from one province to another

Keep this in mind if you’re planning an out-of-province trip, and want to bring spirits with you. Unless you have a specific license from the liquor control board, you can’t transport booze across provincial borders, unless it’s wine. It’s a leftover Prohibition-era law.

No jumping out of a plane without a parachute

And if you do have a parachute, you need the pilot’s permission. Specifically, the law says you can’t enter or exit a plane during a flight without one, though one wonders how you’d go about entering a plane mid-flight.

By Anthony Geremia