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Facts and Figures (July - September 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 September 2014

Province/Territory Possession Licence Possession and Acquisition Licence Minor Licence Total
Alberta 49,086 207,466 1,888 258,440
British Columbia 61,489 188,728 626 250,843
Manitoba 20,962 63,071 449 84,482
New Brunswick 31,871 36,786 179 68,836
Newfoundland and Labrador 22,253 50,354 301 72,908
Northwest Territories 426 4,718 30 5,174
Nova Scotia 32,539 39,139 1,155 72,833
Nunavut 31 3,079 2 3,112
Ontario 160,721 392,086 4,474 557,281
Prince Edward Island 2,494 3,635 21 6,150
Quebec 136,923 357,823 43 494,789
Saskatchewan 24,116 72,911 234 97,261
Yukon 876 5,743 57 6,676
Total 543,787 1,425,539 9,459 1,978,785

Licences per 100,000 population

Province/Territory Licences per 100,000 PopulationFootnote 1
Alberta 7,090
British Columbia 5,701
Manitoba 6,992
New Brunswick 9,164
Newfoundland and Labrador 14,170
Northwest Territories 12,479
Nova Scotia 7,902
Nunavut 9,754
Ontario 4,336
Prince Edward Island 4,386
Quebec 6,261
Saskatchewan 9,412
Yukon 19,695
Total 5,911

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

Number of Licences Issued (including renewals) in the July-September 2014 Period

Type of Licences Issued Number
Possession and Acquisition Licence 73,068
Possession Licence 26,722
Minor's Licence 1,382
Total Issued to Individuals 101,172
Total issued to Businesses 482
Total 101,654

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.

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 606

Up to September 30, 2014

Licence Revocations by Year

Year Licences Revoked
2009 2,075
2010 2,222
2011 2,362
2012 2,419
2013 2,489
2014 1,838

Up to September 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 September 2014

Province/Territory Restricted firearms Prohibited firearms Total Firearms
Alberta 149,355 24,647 174,002
British Columbia 136,621 25,913 162,534
Manitoba 29,300 5,620 34,920
New Brunswick 14,689 4,594 19,283
Newfoundland and Labrador 5,873 1,505 7,378
Northwest Territories 1,273 310 1,583
Nova Scotia 19,399 6,625 26,024
Nunavut 329 40 369
Ontario 253,201 78,674 331,875
Prince Edward Island 2,184 748 2,932
Quebec 68,771 29,190 97,961
Saskatchewan 38,527 7,785 46,312
Yukon 2,242 369 2,611
Total 721,764 186,020 907,784

Restricted and prohibited firearms per 100,000 PopulationFootnote 2

Province/Territory Restricted and prohibited firearms per 100,000 Population
Alberta 4,773
British Columbia 3,694
Manitoba 2,890
New Brunswick 2,567
Newfoundland and Labrador 1,434
Northwest Territories 3,818
Nova Scotia 2,823
Nunavut 1,157
Ontario 2,582
Prince Edward Island 2,091
Quebec 1,240
Saskatchewan 4,482
Yukon 7,703
Total 2,712

Footnote 2 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 4 73,516 142,417 215,933
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

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 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%
2014 Q 3 98.2%

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 11,518
Address 2,574 2,843 3,176 4,012 4,248 3,808 3,883
Serial# 204 317 308 358 262 239 216
Licence# 142 186 209 218 138 103 99
Certificate# 19 19 16 12 8 6 8
Telephone# 15 20 40 33 31 35 28
Other 22 51 85 82 73 80 95
Total 9,606 11,347 14,729 17,782 18,185 17,410 15,847

Total CFRO Queries by Quarter

Quarter All Query Types
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
2014 Q 4 1,552,803

Total CFRO Queries by Province (July - September 2014)

Province/Territory Query Count for 2014 Q3 Queries per 100,000 PopulationFootnote 4
Alberta 212,662 5,834
British Columbia 151,444 3,442
Manitoba 30,905 2,558
New Brunswick 55,493 7,388
Newfoundland and Labrador 35,173 6,836
Northwest Territories 2,205 5,318
Nova Scotia 27,498 2,983
Nunavut 1,759 5,513
Ontario 925,612 7,202
Prince Edward Island 2,461 1,755
Quebec 84,520 1,069
Saskatchewan 19,692 1,906
Yukon 3,379 9,968
Total 1,552,803 4,638

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 National Call Centre

Year Average Wait Time (seconds)
2010 43
2011 49
2012 77
2013 176
2014 273

Up to September 30, 2014