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Facts and Figures (October - December 2013)

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 2013

Province/Territory Possession Licence Possession and Acquisition Licence Minor Licence Total
Alberta 53,538 193,607 1,762 248,907
British Columbia 66,009 176,452 612 243,073
Manitoba 23,309 61,163 452 84,924
New Brunswick 34,882 35,881 177 70,940
Newfoundland and Labrador 24,127 49,140 288 73,555
Northwest Territories 456 4,587 35 5,078
Nova Scotia 35,246 37,257 1,090 73,593
Nunavut 32 2,899 2 2,933
Ontario 171,690 374,658 4,459 550,807
Prince Edward Island 2,764 3,480 21 6,265
Quebec 149,688 347,800 44 497,532
Saskatchewan 26,489 69,469 221 96,179
Yukon 920 5,625 49 6,594
Total 589,150 1,362,018 9,212 1,960,380

Licences per 100,000 population

Province/Territory Licences per 100,000 PopulationFootnote 1
Alberta 6,828
British Columbia 5,524
Manitoba 7,029
New Brunswick 9,444
Newfoundland and Labrador 14,295
Northwest Territories 12,247
Nova Scotia 7,984
Nunavut 9,193
Ontario 4,286
Prince Edward Island 4,468
Quebec 6,295
Saskatchewan 9,307
Yukon 19,453
Total 5,856

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 2013 Period

Type of Licences Issued Number
Possession and Acquisition Licence 80,906
Possession Licence 23,999
Minor's Licence 1,503
Total Issued to Individuals 106,408
Total issued to Businesses 177
Total 106,585

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 25,946 183 1,745 20 119
1999 216 4,590 43,911 1,120 6,501
2000 5,447 9,634 81,294 2,313 12,101
2001 1,503 6,212 57,090 1,685 9,048
2002 3,057 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 1,566 4,971 47,572 1,747 10,400
2007 913 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 7,055 73,598 3,131 24,462
2012 276 8,281 91,971 4,111 34,298
Total 41,849 84,663 821,092 30,444 203,837

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
2008 461
2009 514
2010 570
2011 520
2012 670
2013 888

Up to Dec. 31, 2013

Licence Revocations by Year

Year Licences Revoked
2008 1,834
2009 2,076
2010 2,223
2011 2,362
2012 2,421
2013 2,498

Up to Dec. 31, 2013

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 2013

Province/Territory Restricted firearms Prohibited firearms Total Firearms
Alberta 134,010 24,530 158,540
British Columbia 122,986 26,134 149,120
Manitoba 24,941 5,687 30,628
New Brunswick 13,786 4,645 18,431
Newfoundland and Labrador 5,354 1,500 6,854
Northwest Territories 1,180 313 1,493
Nova Scotia 18,426 6,872 25,298
Nunavut 306 38 344
Ontario 233,727 79,301 313,028
Prince Edward Island 2,056 743 2,799
Quebec 64,942 30,480 95,422
Saskatchewan 34,977 7,848 42,825
Yukon 2,156 374 2,530
Total 658,847 188,465 847,312

Restricted and prohibited firearms per 100,000 PopulationFootnote 2

Province/Territory Restricted and prohibited firearms per 100,000 PopulationFootnote 3
Alberta 4,349
British Columbia 3,389
Manitoba 2,535
New Brunswick 2,454
Newfoundland and Labrador 1,332
Northwest Territories 3,601
Nova Scotia 2,745
Nunavut 1,078
Ontario 2,436
Prince Edward Island 1,996
Quebec 1,207
Saskatchewan 4,144
Yukon 7,464
Total 2,531

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 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
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
2012 Q 1 61,422 126,202 2 0 187,626
2012 Q 2 27,261 49,631 2 0 76,894
2012 Q 3 27,246 37,953 0 0 65,199
2012 Q 4 29,135 33,355 0 2 62,492
2013 Q 1 27,437 37,549 0 0 64,986
2013 Q 2 28,440 40,692 0 0 69,132
2013 Q 3 27,317 43,434 0 0 70,751
2013 Q 4 27,396 38,802 0 0 66,198

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 1 99.0%
2011 Q 2 99.0%
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%

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 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 restricted or prohibited 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 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Individual Name 4,395 6,631 7,910 10,895 13,067 13,425 13,138
Address 2,364 2,574 2,843 3,176 4,012 4,248 3,808
Serial# 177 204 317 308 358 262 239
Licence# 122 142 186 209 218 138 103
Certificate# 16 19 19 16 12 8 6
Telephone# 14 15 20 40 33 31 35
Other 21 22 51 85 82 73 80
Total 7,109 9,606 11,347 14,729 17,782 18,185 17,410

Up to Dec. 31, 2013

Total CFRO Queries by Quarter

Quarter All Query Types
2011 Q 1 1,419,010
2011 Q 2 1,695,171
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

Total CFRO Queries by Province (October-December 2013)

Province/Territory Query Count for 2013 Q4 Queries per 100,000 PopulationFootnote 4
Alberta 127,991 3,511
British Columbia 100,769 2,290
Manitoba 27,200 2,251
New Brunswick 46,834 6,235
Newfoundland and Labrador 23,333 4,535
Northwest Territories 2,349 5,665
Nova Scotia 20,560 2,231
Nunavut 533 1,671
Ontario 887,030 6,902
Prince Edward Island 2,781 1,984
Quebec 76,702 971
Saskatchewan 13,173 1,275
Yukon 2,323 6,853
Total 1,331,578 3,978

Footnote 4 Queries per 100,000 population are calculated using Provincial/Territorial populations from 2011 Census

Telephone Enquiries

The Canadian Firearms Program operates a call centre located within its Firearms Service Delivery 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)
2009 106
2010 43
2011 49
2012 77
2013 140

Up to Dec. 31, 2013