Since the passage of the Firearms Act in 1995, there has been increasing recognition in the international community that lax or absent firearms regulation in one state, particularly in the area of import and export controls, can undermine the efforts of others to combat the criminal use of firearms. International efforts have consequently focussed on ways in which to address transnational trafficking of firearms and encouraged a high degree of co-operation among countries in order to successfully investigate and prosecute trafficking offences.
One of the main policy objectives of Canada's firearms legislation is to combat illicit trafficking and smuggling of firearms. Greater legislative controls over importing and exporting of firearms are included in the Firearms Act and separate offences for smuggling and trafficking are included in the Criminal Code. The Government of Canada has been involved in a number of international initiatives dealing with import, export and transit controls of firearms in support of Canada's legislative objectives. The following is a summary of these initiatives.
United Nations Protocol Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components, and Ammunition
Canada signed the protocol in March 2002