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Facts and Figures (October - December 2011)

Canadian Firearms Program

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Firearms Licensing

Firearms Licences

There are currently three types of firearms licences for individuals in Canada: the Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL), the Possession Only Licence (POL) and the Minor's Licence. Only the PAL and Minor's Licence are available for new applicants.

  • Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL): allows the licence holder to possess and acquire firearms and ammunition.
  • Possession Only Licence (POL): allows the licence holder to possess, but not acquire, firearms, and to both possess and acquire ammunition.
  • Minor's Licence: the only licence available to individuals under 18 years of age. It allows the licence holder to use non-restricted firearms for specific activities such as hunting or target practice.

All businesses and organizations that produce, sell, possess, handle, display or store firearms or ammunition are required to have a valid firearms business licence.

Valid Licences as of December 2011

Province/Territory Possession Licence Possession and
Acquisition Licence
Minor Licence Total
Alberta 62,283 164,259 1,627 228,169
British Columbia 76,475 151,579 455 228,509
Manitoba 27,279 54,360 325 81,964
New Brunswick 40,932 32,724 143 73,799
Newfoundland and Labrador 27,768 45,787 208 73,763
Northwest Territories 541 4,620 44 5,205
Nova Scotia 41,113 33,653 1,133 75,899
Nunavut 51 2,942 6 2,999
Ontario 194,307 330,506 3,963 528,776
Prince Edward Island 3,363 3,119 16 6,498
Quebec 170,918 327,288 19 498,225
Saskatchewan 31,044 61,434 110 92,588
Yukon 1,088 5,291 42 6,421
Total 677,162 1,217,562 8,091 1,902,815


Licences per 100,000 population

Province/Territory Licences per 100,000 Population*
Alberta 6,949
British Columbia 5,553
Manitoba 7,146
New Brunswick 10,119
Newfoundland and Labrador 14,593
Northwest Territories 12,553
Nova Scotia 8,309
Nunavut 10,175
Ontario 4,349
Prince Edward Island 4,783
Quebec 6,595
Saskatchewan 9,568
Yukon 21,141
Total 6,019


View map
(PDF 1.33MB)

* Licences per 100,000 population are calculated using Provincial/Territorial populations from 2006 Census



Number of Licences Issued (including renewals) in the October - December 2011 Period

Type of Licences Issued
Number
Possession and Acquisition Licence
78,010
Minor's Licence
1,790
Possession Licence
19,552
Total Issued to Individuals
99,352
Total issued to Businesses
325
Total
99,677

Licence Renewal

A firearms licence for an individual is valid for five years, at which point the individual must renew the licence.

Renewal Statistics for Licence Holders who have Registered Firearms

Quarter Total Number of
Licences Set to
Expire During the Period
Renewed Did not Renew Renewal Rate for
Firearm Owners
2009 Q 1 73,261 54,713 18,548 74.7%
2009 Q 2 77,852 58,982 18,870 75.8%
2009 Q 3 76,206 60,138 16,068 78.9%
2009 Q 4 62,618 48,839 13,779 78.0%
2010 Q 1 65,507 50,816 14,691 77.6%
2010 Q 2 66,135 51,395 14,740 77.7%
2010 Q 3 65,391 52,951 12,440 81.0%
2010 Q 4 60,037 53,030 7,007 88.3%
2011 Q 1 51,320 46,613 4,707 90.8%
2011 Q 2 54,388 49,485 4,903 91.0%
2011 Q 3 58,315 52,804 5,511 90.5%
2011 Q 4 66,747 58,743 8,004 88.0%


Safety Training

Firearms safety training is a fundamental element of the Canadian Firearms Program. To obtain a PAL or a Minor's Licence an applicant must have satisfied the requirements of the Canadian Firearms Safety Course (CFSC). It is also possible in some cases for a PAL applicant to receive alternative certification. To own or acquire restricted firearms, an individual must satisfy the requirements of the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course (CRFSC) or have been alternatively certified, in addition to having satisfied the requirements of the CFSC. These courses help ensure that those who possess and use firearms are fully aware of their responsibility for the safe handling, transport and storage of firearms.

Year No. of Alternate Certifications No. of CFSCs No. of CFSC Students No. of CRFSC No. of CRFSC Students
before 1999 24,106 182 1,744 20 119
1999 210 4,590 43,911 1,120 6,501
2000 5,280 9,633 81,290 2,313 12,101
2001 1,423 6,212 57,090 1,685 9,048
2002 3,045 5,239 49,731 1,743 10,060
2003 709 4,176 37,650 1,347 7,844
2004 468 3,899 36,277 1,251 8,201
2005 756 4,276 40,759 1,446 9,028
2006 1,552 4,969 47,540 1,747 10,400
2007 911 5,556 55,694 2,119 13,304
2008 448 6,684 65,952 2,553 17,072
2009 231 6,962 67,719 2,870 19,928
2010 173 6,605 67,739 2,724 20,365
Total 39, 313 68, 983 653, 096 22, 956 143, 971

NOTE: These totals do not include the number of individuals who have taken the above courses in Quebec.



Licence Refusals and Revocations

Licensing of an individual to possess firearms requires a variety of background checks. Applicants are screened to detect potential public safety risks based on information provided with a firearms licence application. Continuous eligibility screening is conducted over the term of the licence to identify any public safety risks that may arise over time. A licence may also be revoked following a court order or a Chief Firearm Officer's investigation resulting from a call to the CFP's public safety line (1-800-731-4000).

The Registrar of Firearms is notified of all licence revocations, is responsible for revoking all associated registration certificates, and works to ensure proper disposal of the firearms. For more information on refusals and revocations, please consult the
Firearms Act.

NOTE: Reasons for licence refusals or revocations include: a history of violence, mental illness, potential risk to oneself or others, unsafe firearm use and storage, drug offences, and providing false information.

Licence Refusals by Year

Year Refused Applications
2006 391
2007 438
2008 461
2009 513
2010 570
2011* 519

* Up to December 31, 2011

Licence Revocations by Year

Year Licences Revoked
2006 2,064
2007 1,748
2008 1,834
2009 2,076
2010 2,228
2011* 2,371

* Up to December 31, 2011

Firearms Registration

The registration of firearms links firearms and their licensed owners, thereby enhancing owners' accountability for safe storage and use of firearms. A centralized, on-line, secure database of firearms information helps police and other public safety officials carry out investigations efficiently and effectively enabling them to quickly trace a firearm to its last lawful owner.

Firearms Registered as of December 2011

Province/Territory Non-restricted
firearms
Restricted
firearms
Prohibited
firearms
Total
Alberta 930,519 97,850 24,584 1,052,953
British Columbia 838,878 100,013 27,865 966,756
Manitoba 347,659 19,318 5,926 372,903
New Brunswick 274,255 12,136 5,110 291,501
Newfoundland and Labrador 207,108 4,250 1,556 212,914
Northwest Territories 19,292 1,103 328 20,723
Nova Scotia 286,268 16,468 7,114 309,850
Nunavut 12,626 170 39 12,835
Ontario 2,110,244 190,118 82,121 2,382,483
Prince Edward Island 22,111 1,737 793 24,641
Quebec 1,618,935 58,579 32,792 1,710,306
Saskatchewan 415,460 27,495 8,203 451,158
Yukon 24,452 1,883 395 26,730
Total 7,107,807 531,120 196,826 7,835,753

Firearms per 100,000 Population*

Province/Territory Firearms per 100,000 Population*
Alberta 32,067
British Columbia 23,495
Manitoba 32,511
New Brunswick 39,969
Newfoundland and Labrador 42,122
Northwest Territories 49,978
Nova Scotia 33,920
Nunavut 43,547
Ontario 19,593
Prince Edward Island 18,138
Quebec 22,640
Saskatchewan 46,624
Yukon 88,009
Total 24,787


View map
(PDF 1.34MB)

*Firearms per 100,000 population are calculated using Provincial/Territorial populations from 2006 Census



Firearm Transfers

A firearm must be legally transferred whenever it is sold, traded or given to someone else. The registration information must be updated to indicate the new owner, if he or she lives in Canada. This process is referred to as a "transfer" under the Firearms Act.

Firearm Transfers by Transfer Method

NOTE: EFAST is a legacy system that is being phased out

Quarter Telephone Internet Paper EFAST Total
2009 Q 1 77,943 67,041 0 0 144,984
2009 Q 2 78,766 87,345 0 0 166,111
2009 Q 3 80,124 91,126 0 0 171,250
2009 Q 4 91,155 84,112 2 8 175,277
2010 Q 1 70,017 74,602 2 0 144,621
2010 Q 2 76,672 108,379 0 0 185,051
2010 Q 3 86,845 117,713 1 6 204,565
2010 Q 4 86,448 107,692 0 0 194,140
2011 Q 1 81,237 90,692 0 0 171,929
2011 Q 2 76,867 124,192 0 10 201,069
2011 Q 3 76,002 142,516 0 0 218,518
2011 Q 4 73,516 142,417 0 0 215,933

Firearm Transfers Processed within Service Standard (30 days)

Quarter Percentage within Standard
2009 Q 1 96.5%
2009 Q 2 97.4%
2009 Q 3 97.7%
2009 Q 4 96.7%
2010 Q 1 97.3%
2010 Q 2 97.8%
2010 Q 3 97.3%
2010 Q 4 96.2%
2011 Q 1 97.0%
2011 Q 2 96.5%
2011 Q 3 98.2%
2011 Q 4 98.0%

NOTE: this figure refers to the mailing of a hard copy Registration certificate to the transferee. The transfer transaction is typically updated in CFIS within a few hours, and the transferee can legally take possession of the firearms at that point.


Other CFP Performance Information

CFRO Queries

The Canadian Firearms Registry On-line (CFRO) is a subset of the Canadian Firearms Information System (CFIS). The system is available to Canadian police agencies via the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) system to assist them when responding to calls and conducting investigations. As a searchable application, police officers may query the name, address and firearms licence number of an individual, or firearm-related information such as the serial number or registration certificate number of a firearm. CFRO provides police with real-time access to the information they require in their investigative and operational activities.

Average Daily Queries to the CFRO

Type 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011*
Individual Name 1,820 2,397 4,001 4,262 6,435 7,653 10,527 13,112
Address 42 1,434 2,268 2,364 2,574 2,842 3,175 4,020
Serial# 130 143 187 176 202 316 307 363
Licence# 57 74 89 121 140 185 208 221
Certificate# 13 14 15 16 19 19 16 12
Telephone# 9 12 11 14 15 20 40 33
Other 16 17 21 21 22 50 85 83
Total 2,071 4,074 6,570 6,952 9,385 11,035 14,273 17,762

* Up to December 31, 2011

NOTE: The total may not match the sum of the components due to rounding

Total CFRO Queries by Quarter

Quarter All Query Types
2009 Q 1 >884,635
2009 Q 2 981,375
2009 Q 3 1,088,296
2009 Q 4 1,088,510
2010 Q 1 1,203,522
2010 Q 2 1,335,487
2010 Q 3 1,365,119
2010 Q 4 1,335,907
2011 Q 1 1,416,881
2011 Q 2 1,692,380
2011 Q 3 1,779,706
2011 Q 4 1,374,188

NOTE: The numbers from previous quarters have increased between this report and last, due to new data becoming available.


Total CFRO Queries by Province (October - December 2011)

Province/Territory Query Count
for 2011 Q4
Queries per
100,000 Population*
Alberta 138,229 4,210
British Columbia 208,965 5,079
Manitoba 26,452 2,306
New Brunswick 48,216 6,611
Newfoundland and Labrador 23,509 4,651
Northwest Territories 1,886 4,549
Nova Scotia 20,056 2,196
Nunavut 999 3,389
Ontario 827,071 6,802
Prince Edward Island 2,361 1,738
Quebec 57,738 764
Saskatchewan 16,699 1,726
Yukon 2,007 6,608
Total 1,374,188 4,347


View map
(PDF 1.33MB)

*Queries per 100,000 population are calculated using Provincial/Territorial populations from 2006 Census



Telephone Enquiries

The Canadian Firearms Program operates a call centre located within its central processing site. This centre answers calls from the general public and licence holders relating to firearms licensing and registration.

Telephone Calls Received at the CFP's Call Centre

Year Average Wait Time (seconds) Total Number of Calls Received Number of Calls Answered
within 3 Minutes
2006 159 1,132,071 740,548
2007 327 1,065,592 358,673
2008 125 975,945 690,585
2009 115 878,608 634,417
2010 49 544,093 481,273
2011* 56 742,749 638,063

*Up to December 31, 2011