Both the Ontario and Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources have, in recent years, been moving towards making their offices modern and ‘paperless’.
But at what cost?
Sure, having all the rules and regulations available online is a real benefit to those with access to a computer. I’m not sure what I would do without the internet and all my online tools, but what about someone like my father who’s never owned a PC in his life? What about anyone without access to a computer or the Internet?
Back in the good ol days, you could purchase a deer or moose license and grab a copy of the regs on your way out. But not anymore!
Guys like my hunting pal Ken for example who lives in Quebec’s, Laurentians without access to a computer. Last Fall, he purchased his deer permit at the local Depanneur, as he has for almost 35 years, but when he went to grab his copy of the 2012 Hunting Regulations they were nowhere to be seen!
After calling me and doing a bit of research, we discovered that the booklet is only available now on ‘special order’, and if he wanted one would have to call the 1 (800) which he did. The lady on the line explained that the information he wanted was ‘readily available online’, until Ken explained to her that he doesn’t own a computer.
Over on this side of the river it is much the same thing.
Avid angler Herman Baguss just wanted a copy of the Fishing Regs for 2013 and was told, when he when called the MNR, that they no longer handing them out.
When he asked someone in the know, he was ordered to go online “Download them and print them”..which thoroughly ticked him off!
I’m sure Herman is not the first person to be ticked-off at our government’s move towards a paperless office.
It would seem that both Quebec and Ontario are moving in that direction.
Call me oldschool, but what is really wrong with paper anyway? I suppose it all boils down to dollars and cents. Sadly, with an aging Canadian population, more and more of our older hunting and fishing enthusiasts will start to feel abandoned in a world of high tech. I can’t blame them really.
Hey, can we not just print a token amount of hunting and fishing regs for those who can’t get them online, and make them available?
As much as I enjoy all the modern high tech conveniences, there is still something special about holding a ‘hard copy’ booklet in my hand, but I suppose that luxury has gone by way of the dodo bird.