The province will offer free fishing for two weeks in July, instead of one, as part of Canada Day celebrations.
Canadian residents of all ages will not have to purchase a licence or carry an Outdoors Card for the first two weeks of July, from July 4 to 19, the government announced on Tuesday, June 30.
Existing fishing rules and regulations, including conservation catch and possession limits, must be followed.
Pandemic challenges cited
“The COVID-19 outbreak has made things challenging for everyone this year, and this is why it’s especially important that we provide families with a lower-risk way to spend quality time outdoors,” Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry John Yakabuski stated in a release.
“We’re counting on people to be responsible when enjoying free fishing and to continue to follow all of the public health measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”
The annual Free Fishing Week traditionally starts in early July. Free fishing also takes place on Family Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day weekends.
Free day use of parks announced
The province also announced free day use at all provincial parks on July 1.
Capacity will be limited to help prevent overcrowding at the most popular parks, so visitors are encouraged to arrive early or explore other parks. They should also maintain physical distancing and wear a mask whenever physical distancing is not possible, officials reminded.
“As we celebrate Canada’s 153rd birthday, this is our way of saying thank you to everyone in Ontario who has followed the public health advice to stop the spread of COVID-19,” stated Premier Doug Ford.
“Tourism is a major source of jobs and economic benefits for many communities across the province, so it’s important to support our local businesses and explore everything our province has to offer as we reopen the province this summer.”
Fishing key to economy
Anglers spend more than $1.6 billion annually in Ontario and support jobs in many rural and northern communities that depend on it, officials stated.
Veterans and active Canadian Armed Forces members living in Ontario can enjoy year-round recreational fishing without having to purchase a fishing licence.