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Most laws make sense. For the most part, we understand why we’re not supposed to speed, steal and murder people. But why on earth can’t people whistle in Petrolia, Ontario? (Seriously, check section 4.3 of their municipal noise by-laws). There are some weird laws out there, Canada, that you should probably be aware of. You know, if you plan on paying for things in cash or challenging your neighbour to a duel. Seriously. Here are five of Canada’s strangest laws, according to a real Canadian lawyer.

1. Careful with those coins

Good thing we did away with the penny. According to the Canadian Currency Act of 1985, there’s a limit to the number of coins you can legally use to pay for something. Section 8.2 states:

‘A payment in coins… is a legal tender for no more than the following amounts for the following denominations of coins: (a) forty dollars if the denomination is two dollars or greater but does not exceed ten dollars; (b) twenty-five dollars if the denomination is one dollar,’ and so on.

So you legally can’t pay for something with $50 in nickles. We wonder if that extends to Canadian tire money.

2. If you’re practicing witchcraft, you better be a real witch

According to the Canadian Criminal Code, it’s not illegal to be a witch, but it is illegal to pretend you are. According to the Code, section 365:

‘Every one who fraudulently pretends to exercise or to use any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment or conjuration, undertakes, for a consideration, to tell fortunes, or pretends from his skill in or knowledge of an occult or crafty science to discover where or in what manner anything that is supposed to have been stolen or lost may be found, is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.’

3. Is that your third garage sale this summer?

It’s hard to sell all your stuff in one garage sale. It feels like you could hold a sale every Saturday all summer and still have a garage full of junk left when the leaves change colour. Sorry, but if you live in Toronto, that’s not an option for you. You can only legally have two garage sales a year. Section 480-2 of the Toronto Municipal Code states:

‘No more than two garage sales may be held in any year from a premises located in any residential zone. The limitation in Subsection A applies whether or not the sales are held or permitted to be held by one person, a combination of persons or a succession of persons.’

And, no, you can’t have a multi-day garage sale. They already thought of that.

4. Put away your dueling pistols

If you were planning on staging a production of the show Hamilton, you might be out of luck. Apparently our Criminal Code specifically prohibits dueling. Section 71 states:

‘Every one 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.’

If you read that carefully, it means that you can go to jail just for challenging someone to duel. You don’t even have to do it. Canada isn’t playing around.

5. Don’t mess with Canadians’ maple syrup

Did you know that Canada has an entire act dedicated to national maple syrup regulations? Well, it does, and they’re not taking any chances with the quality of their maple products. The act specifically mentions that it’s illegal to mislead people into thinking that a product is maple when it’s not. Section 3.1 states:

‘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.’

Don’t. Mess. With. Canadians’. Maple. Syrup.

 

 

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