So today I wanted to make sure that my children still don’t need a fishing licence in Ontario. Well, after 30 minutes of research I’m still not positive if they do or not.
The following is an excerpt directly from the 2011 Ontario Fishing Regulations. There is no other mention of Ontario or Canadian resident children’s licence requirements in the entire book.
First it says that a valid licence consists of an Outdoors Card plus a fishing licence tag. Then it says that a person is deemed to be the holder of a recreational fishing licence if they are under 18 years of age and in possession of any licence, permit, certificate, etc. issued by the government.
Hmmm… so they automagically receive some sort of recreational fishing licence? If they are under 18 and already have some sort of other government licence or permit or certificate. How do I get such permit or certificate in order to get the fishing licence?
At this point it looks to me like my kids may actually need a fishing licence.
Of course this doesn’t make sense, but then again the MNR doesn’t do very many things that make sense. So I decided to dig up an older version of the fishing regulations.
Fortunately I had a couple of older versions of the regulations in the basement. Unfortunately, the 2010 Ontario Fishing Regulations were written just as poorly and didn’t help at all.
But below is an excerpt from the 2008 Ontario Fishing Regulations.
Well that’s pretty clear. In bold, near the middle it says “Anglers do not need a fishing licence if …” But a lot of the language is the same as 2011 so I’m still a little worried that I may not be interpreting this correctly.
Should I call my lawyer and get his interpretation in writing? Or should I risk losing my automobile, boat, and kids’ fishing rods and tackle because I can’t read an overly complicated 100 page booklet, and some conservation officer decides to be an @$%@$# when we’re out having a nice family day fishing?
Let’s go back down to the basement and take another look for some older regulations. Ah hah! I didn’t even know I had this, but lying in the bottom of an old fishing pack was a copy of the 2005 Ontario Fishing Regulations. Here’s an excerpt from 2005.
Crystal clear – at least in 2005.
Let’s assume the intent of the 2011 regulations is still the same and the MNR hasn’t changed the rules (big assumption). In that case my conclusion is that children under the age of 18 who are residents of Ontario do NOT need a 2011 fishing licence.