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Facts and Figures (January - March 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 March 2014

Province/Territory Possession Licence Possession and Acquisition Licence Minor Licence Total
Alberta 52,231 197,728 1,802 251,761
British Columbia 64,660 182,014 607 247,281
Manitoba 22,606 61,781 444 84,831
New Brunswick 33,987 36,169 178 70,334
Newfoundland and Labrador 23,572 49,697 289 73,558
Northwest Territories 446 4,617 35 5,098
Nova Scotia 34,523 37,711 1,153 73,387
Nunavut 31 3,054 3 3,088
Ontario 168,350 380,114 4,351 552,815
Prince Edward Island 2,715 3,521 23 6,259
Quebec 145,893 350,053 41 495,987
Saskatchewan 25,851 70,542 234 96,627
Yukon 915 5,662 54 6,631
Total 575,780 1,382,663 9,214 1,967,657

Licences per 100,000 population

Province/Territory Licences per 100,000 PopulationFootnote 1
Alberta 6,907
British Columbia 5,620
Manitoba 7,021
New Brunswick 9,363
Newfoundland and Labrador 14,296
Northwest Territories 12,296
Nova Scotia 7,962
Nunavut 9,678
Ontario 4,301
Prince Edward Island 4,464
Quebec 6,276
Saskatchewan 9,351
Yukon 19,562
Total 5,878

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

Number of Licences Issued (including renewals) in the January-March 2014 Period

Type of Licences Issued Number
Possession and Acquisition Licence 77,922
Possession Licence 26,239
Minor's Licence 953
Total Issued to Individuals 105,114
Total issued to Businesses 192
Total 105,306

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
2013 279 5,968 65,696 3,094 25,579
Total 42,128 90,631 886,788 33,538 229,416

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 520
2012 670
2013 888
2014 340

Up to March 31, 2014

Licence Revocations by Year

Year Licences Revoked
2009 2,076
2010 2,223
2011 2,362
2012 2,421
2013 2,498
2014 914

Up to March 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 March 2014

Province/Territory Restricted firearms Prohibited firearms Total Firearms
Alberta 138,851 24,539 163,390
British Columbia 126,562 26,000 152,562
Manitoba 25,652 5,601 31,253
New Brunswick 14,083 4,629 18,712
Newfoundland and Labrador 5,517 1,498 7,015
Northwest Territories 1,182 310 1,492
Nova Scotia 18,815 6,785 25,600
Nunavut 307 38 345
Ontario 242,171 79,385 321,556
Prince Edward Island 2,083 741 2,824
Quebec 65,971 30,056 96,027
Saskatchewan 36,392 7,827 44,219
Yukon 2,181 373 2,554
Total 679,767 187,782 867,549

Restricted and prohibited firearms per 100,000 PopulationFootnote 2

Province/Territory Restricted and prohibited firearms per 100,000 PopulationFootnote 3
Alberta 4,482
British Columbia 3,467
Manitoba 2,587
New Brunswick 2,491
Newfoundland and Labrador 1,363
Northwest Territories 3,598
Nova Scotia 2,777
Nunavut 1,081
Ontario 2,502
Prince Edward Island 2,014
Quebec 1,215
Saskatchewan 4,279
Yukon 7,535
Total 2,592

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 2 76,867 124,192 201,069
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

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 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%
2014 Q 1 99.2%

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 10,410
Address 2,574 2,843 3,176 4,012 4,248 3,808 3,608
Serial# 204 317 308 358 262 239 227
Licence# 142 186 209 218 138 103 99
Certificate# 19 19 16 12 8 6 9
Telephone# 15 20 40 33 31 35 31
Other 22 51 85 82 73 80 123
Total 9,606 11,347 14,729 17,782 18,185 17,410 14,507

Total CFRO Queries by Quarter

Quarter All Query Types
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
2014 Q 1 1,279,721

Total CFRO Queries by Province (January - March 2014)

Province/Territory Query Count for 2014 Q1 Queries per 100,000 PopulationFootnote 4
Alberta 164,741 4,519
British Columbia 92,401 2,100
Manitoba 23,636 1,956
New Brunswick 40,264 5,360
Newfoundland and Labrador 21,089 4,099
Northwest Territories 1,441 3,475
Nova Scotia 21,403 2,322
Nunavut 1,915 6,002
Ontario 817,324 6,360
Prince Edward Island 1,550 1,106
Quebec 80,309 1,016
Saskatchewan 11,938 1,155
Yukon 1,710 5,045
Total 1,279,721 3,823

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 140
2014 242

Up to March 31, 2014