Ontario residents face greater danger from bears this year because of provincial government cutbacks, according to a union leader.

What to do if you spot a bear

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources has a guide to handling black bears, including:

Ontario Public Service Employees Union president Smokey Thomas says the number of staff trained to deal with bears that threaten public safety has been cut by more than half.

The warning comes after Ottawa had a busy summer of bear sightings in 2011, especially in the month of June.

There were a series of black bear sightings in the west Ottawa community of Bells Corners, as well as a bear spotted resting in a tree in nearby Kanata.

Two people were also killed last June in western Quebec when their vehicle struck a bear on Highway 148 near Luskville, Que.

Thomas added changes to the Bear Wise education and response program are among what he calls ill-advised cuts at the Ministry of Natural Resources.

The ministry has 21 technicians in 15 northern Ontario communities, down from 48 in 25 communities.

Ministry cuts mean they will no longer set traps, relocate bears, or make on-site visits to landowners who are having conflicts with bears.

Thomas said the Liberals are way off base with claims that government can take this step.

Ministry spokesperson Jolanta Kowalski said the ministry will continue to aid police in emergency situations with bears.

"This may include immobilization and dispatch but only as a last resort and only at the request of police," said Kowalski.  The ministry also has a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week reporting line through bear season.

"We will continue to work with municipalities and the public providing advice and education in dealing with bears," said Kowalski.

With files from CBC News