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Facts and Figures (April - June 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 June 2014

Province/Territory Possession Licence Possession and Acquisition Licence Minor Licence Total
Alberta 50,750 203,274 1,816 255,840
British Columbia 63,106 185,893 588 249,587
Manitoba 21,853 62,635 421 84,909
New Brunswick 32,945 36,482 175 69,602
Newfoundland and Labrador 22,916 50,002 305 73,223
Northwest Territories 436 4,664 33 5,133
Nova Scotia 33,498 38,225 1,126 72,849
Nunavut 31 3,056 2 3,089
Ontario 164,662 385,876 4,214 554,752
Prince Edward Island 2,612 3,560 22 6,194
Quebec 140,830 352,174 38 493,042
Saskatchewan 25,060 71,905 229 97,194
Yukon 896 5,705 52 6,653
Total 559,595 1,403,451 9,021 1,972,067

Licences per 100,000 population

Province/Territory Licences per 100,000 PopulationFootnote 1
Alberta 7,018
British Columbia 5,672
Manitoba 7,027
New Brunswick 9,266
Newfoundland and Labrador 14,231
Northwest Territories 12,380
Nova Scotia 7,904
Nunavut 9,682
Ontario 4,317
Prince Edward Island 4,418
Quebec 6,239
Saskatchewan 9,405
Yukon 19,627
Total 5,891

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

Number of Licences Issued (including renewals) in the April-June 2014 Period

Type of Licences Issued Number
Possession and Acquisition Licence 78,018
Possession Licence 26,589
Minor's Licence 844
Total Issued to Individuals 105,451
Total issued to Businesses 438
Total 105,889

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 26,009 183 1,745 20 119
1999 216 4,591 43,930 1,120 6,501
2000 5,451 9,634 81,294 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 4,177 37,662 1,347 7,844
2004 469 3,900 36,281 1,252 8,205
2005 760 4,277 40,769 1,446 9,028
2006 1,568 4,971 47,572 1,747 10,400
2007 914 5,561 55,731 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 6,808 69,153 2,891 21,034
2011 126 7,058 73,647 3,132 24,478
2012 276 8,308 92,114 4,133 34,613
2013 279 6,597 71,873 3,348 27,522
Total 42,202 91,291 893,176 33,815 231,690

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
2009 514
2010 570
2011 521
2012 669
2013 884
2014 452

Up to June 30, 2014

Licence Revocations by Year

Year Licences Revoked
2009 2,076
2010 2,222
2011 2,362
2012 2,420
2013 2,489
2014 1,319

Up to June 30, 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 June 2014

Province/Territory Restricted firearms Prohibited firearms Total Firearms
Alberta 144,944 24,611 169,555
British Columbia 131,356 25,922 157,278
Manitoba 29,014 5,624 34,638
New Brunswick 14,486 4,605 19,091
Newfoundland and Labrador 5,738 1,508 7,246
Northwest Territories 1,240 309 1,549
Nova Scotia 19,018 6,705 25,723
Nunavut 321 40 361
Ontario 246,337 79,128 325,465
Prince Edward Island 2,149 742 2,891
Quebec 67,410 29,832 97,242
Saskatchewan 37,886 7,845 45,731
Yukon 2,212 373 2,585
Total 702,111 187,244 889,355

Restricted and prohibited firearms per 100,000 PopulationFootnote 2

Province/Territory Restricted and prohibited firearms per 100,000 PopulationFootnote 3
Alberta 4,651
British Columbia 3,574
Manitoba 2,867
New Brunswick 2,541
Newfoundland and Labrador 1,408
Northwest Territories 3,736
Nova Scotia 2,791
Nunavut 1,131
Ontario 2,532
Prince Edward Island 2,062
Quebec 1,230
Saskatchewan 4,425
Yukon 7,626
Total 2,657

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

Footnote 3 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
2011 Q 3 76,002 142,516 218,518
2011 Q 4 73,516 142,417 215,933
2012 Q 1 61,422 126,202 187,626
2012 Q 2 27,261 49,631 76,894
2012 Q 3 27,246 37,953 65,199
2012 Q 4 29,135 33,355 62,492
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

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
2011 Q 3 99.5%
2011 Q 4 99.2%
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%

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 11,073
Address 2,574 2,843 3,176 4,012 4,248 3,808 3,769
Serial# 204 317 308 358 262 239 231
Licence# 142 186 209 218 138 103 102
Certificate# 19 19 16 12 8 6 8
Telephone# 15 20 40 33 31 35 30
Other 22 51 85 82 73 80 117
Total 9,606 11,347 14,729 17,782 18,185 17,410 15,329

Total CFRO Queries by Quarter

Quarter All Query Types
2011 Q 3 1,781,783
2011 Q 4 1,594,214
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

Total CFRO Queries by Province (April-June 2014)

Province/Territory Query Count for 2014 Q2 Queries per 100,000 PopulationFootnote 4
Alberta 196,394 5,388
British Columbia 103,466 2,351
Manitoba 29,657 2,455
New Brunswick 45,553 6,064
Newfoundland and Labrador 25,334 4,924
Northwest Territories 2,338 5,639
Nova Scotia 23,257 2,523
Nunavut 2,121 6,648
Ontario 976,728 7,600
Prince Edward Island 1,742 1,242
Quebec 84,424 1,068
Saskatchewan 13,236 1,281
Yukon 2,651 7,821
Total 1,506,901 4,501

Footnote 4 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 National Call Centre

Year Average Wait Time (seconds)
2010 43
2011 49
2012 77
2013 176
2014 228

Up to June 30, 2014