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Facts and Figures (October - December 2014)

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 2014

Province/Territory Possession Licence Possession and Acquisition Licence Minor Licence Total
Alberta 47,840 211,999 1,796 261,635
British Columbia 60,034 191,504 639 252,177
Manitoba 20,326 63,915 455 84,696
New Brunswick 31,332 37,361 199 68,892
Newfoundland and Labrador 22,078 50,943 295 73,316
Northwest Territories 413 4,798 29 5,240
Nova Scotia 32,044 40,065 1,235 73,344
Nunavut 31 3,069 2 3,102
Ontario 157,589 398,339 4,690 560,618
Prince Edward Island 2,414 3,729 19 6,162
Quebec 133,225 362,262 50 495,537
Saskatchewan 23,416 74,144 225 97,785
Yukon 854 5,765 58 6,677
Total 531,596 1,447,893 9,692 1,989,181

Licences per 100,000 population

Province/Territory Licences per 100,000 PopulationFootnote 1
Alberta 7,177
British Columbia 5,731
Manitoba 7,010
New Brunswick 9,171
Newfoundland and Labrador 14,249
Northwest Territories 12,638
Nova Scotia 7,957
Nunavut 9,722
Ontario 4,362
Prince Edward Island 4,395
Quebec 6,270
Saskatchewan 9,463
Yukon 19,698
Total 5,942

Footnote 1 Licences per 100,000 population are calculated using Provincial/Territorial populations from 2011 Census

Number of Licences Issued (including renewals) in the October-December 2014 Period

Type of Licences Issued Number
Possession and Acquisition Licence 73,531
Possession Licence 24,588
Minor's Licence 1,579
Total Issued to Individuals 99,698
Total issued to Businesses 445
Total 100,143

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 Alternative Certifications No. of CFSCs No. of CFSC Students No. of CRFSC No. of CRFSC Students
before 1999 26,038 183 1,745 20 119
1999 216 4,591 43,930 1,120 6,501
2000 5,451 9,635 81,332 2,313 12,101
2001 1,506 6,212 57,090 1,685 9,048
2002 3,058 5,239 49,731 1,743 10,060
2003 712 4,178 37,671 1,347 7,844
2004 469 3,901 36,295 1,252 8,205
2005 760 4,277 40,769 1,446 9,028
2006 1,568 4,974 47,575 1,749 10,404
2007 914 5,562 55,739 2,121 13,313
2008 448 6,700 66,108 2,558 17,094
2009 231 7,075 68,476 2,959 20,330
2010 179 6,810 69,157 2,891 21,034
2011 126 7,058 73,647 3,132 24,478
2012 276 8,309 92,120 4,134 34,617
2013 279 7,539 82,445 3,730 30,550
Total 42,231 92,243 903,830 34,200 234,726

NOTE: These totals do not include the number of individuals who have taken the above courses in Quebec. Data for 2014 is not yet available

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
2009 513
2010 569
2011 520
2012 669
2013 882
2014 810

Up to December 31, 2014

Licence Revocations by Year

Year Licences Revoked
2009 2,075
2010 2,222
2011 2,362
2012 2,419
2013 2,488
2014 2,357

Up to December 31, 2014

Firearms Registration

The registration of restricted and prohibited firearms links these firearms and their licensed owners, thereby enhancing owners' accountability for safe storage and use of these 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 restricted or prohibited firearm to its last lawful owner.

Restricted and Prohibited Firearms Registered as of December 2014

Province/Territory Restricted firearms Prohibited firearms Total Firearms
Alberta 150,460 24,477 174,937
British Columbia 136,217 26,337 162,554
Manitoba 28,858 5,552 34,410
New Brunswick 14,777 4,585 19,362
Newfoundland and Labrador 5,982 1,490 7,472
Northwest Territories 1,290 309 1,599
Nova Scotia 19,456 6,493 25,949
Nunavut 339 40 379
Ontario 256,892 78,752 335,644
Prince Edward Island 2,189 752 2,941
Quebec 68,423 28,819 97,242
Saskatchewan 38,941 7,743 46,684
Yukon 2,258 358 2,616
Total 726,082 185,707 911,789

Restricted and Prohibited Firearms Registered as of Dec 2014Footnote 2

Province/Territory Restricted and prohibited firearms per 100,000 Population
Alberta 4,799
British Columbia 3,694
Manitoba 2,848
New Brunswick 2,578
Newfoundland and Labrador 1,452
Northwest Territories 3,857
Nova Scotia 2,815
Nunavut 1,188
Ontario 2,612
Prince Edward Island 2,098
Quebec 1,230
Saskatchewan 4,518
Yukon 7,717
Total 2,724

Footnote 2 Restricted and prohibited firearms per 100,000 population are calculated using Provincial/Territorial populations from 2011 Census.

Firearm Transfers

A restricted or prohibited 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

Quarter Telephone Internet Total
2012 Q 1 61,422 126,202 187,624
2012 Q 2* 27,261 49,631 76,892
2012 Q 3 27,246 37,953 65,199
2012 Q 4 29,135 33,355 62,490
2013 Q 1 27,437 37,549 64,986
2013 Q 2 28,440 40,692 69,132
2013 Q 3 27,317 43,434 70,751
2013 Q 4 27,396 38,802 66,198
2014 Q 1 25,521 41,588 67,109
2014 Q 2 28,681 45,600 74,281
2014 Q 3 30,403 43,788 74,191
2014 Q 4 32,228 35,126 67,354

The statistics listed for 2012 Q2 (April – June) and thereafter do not include transfers of non-restricted firearms outside Quebec after April 5, 2012.

Firearm Transfers Processed within Service Standard (30 days)

Quarter Percentage within Standard
2012 Q 1 99.2%
2012 Q 2 98.1%
2012 Q 3 99.0%
2012 Q 4 98.7%
2013 Q 1 98.2%
2013 Q 2 98.1%
2013 Q 3 98.9%
2013 Q 4 99.1%
2014 Q 1 99.2%
2014 Q 2 99.4%
2014 Q 3 98.2%
2014 Q 4 99.1%

Other Canadian Firearms Program Performance Information

CFRO Queries

The Canadian Firearms Registry On-line (CFRO) is a subset of the Canadian Firearms Information System (CFIS). The CFRO 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 information related to restricted or prohibited firearms, such as the serial number or registration certificate number. 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 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Individual Name 6,631 7,910 10,895 13,067 13,425 13,138 11,832
Address 2,574 2,843 3,176 4,012 4,248 3,808 3,855
Serial# 204 317 308 358 262 239 215
Licence# 142 186 209 218 138 103 101
Certificate# 19 19 16 12 8 6 7
Telephone# 15 20 40 33 31 35 29
Other 22 51 85 82 73 80 85
Total 9,606 11,347 14,729 17,782 18,185 17,410 16,126

Total CFRO Queries by Quarter

Quarter All Query Types
2012 Q 1 1,601,550
2012 Q 2 1,705,988
2012 Q 3 1,774,833
2012 Q 4 1,572,709
2013 Q 1 1,589,065
2013 Q 2 1,757,736
2013 Q 3 1,675,271
2013 Q 4 1,331,578
2014 Q 1 1,279,721
2014 Q 2 1,506,901
2014 Q 3 1,552,803
2014 Q 4 1,545,077

Total CFRO Queries by Province (October - December 2014)

Province/Territory Query Count for 2014 Q3 Queries per 100,000 PopulationFootnote 4
Alberta 186,680 5,121
British Columbia 303,951 6,908
Manitoba 26,437 2,188
New Brunswick 44,868 5,973
Newfoundland and Labrador 25,935 5,040
Northwest Territories 1,438 3,468
Nova Scotia 23,177 2,515
Nunavut 876 2,746
Ontario 823,883 6,411
Prince Edward Island 1,705 1,216
Quebec 85,864 1,086
Saskatchewan 18,325 1,773
Yukon 1,938 5,717
Total 1,545,077 4,615

Footnote 3 Queries per 100,000 population are calculated using Provincial/Territorial populations from 2011 Census

Telephone Enquiries

The Canadian Firearms Program operates a national call centre. This centre answers calls from the general public and licence holders relating to firearms licensing and registration.

Telephone Calls Received at the CFP's Firearms Service Delivery centre

Year Average Wait Time (seconds)
2010 43
2011 49
2012 77
2013 176
2014 251

Up to December 31, 2014