Question Period Note: Status of implementation — c–71

About

Reference number:
PS-2021-1-QP-0011
Date received:
Jun 21, 2021
Organization:
Public Safety Canada
Name of Minister:
Blair, Bill (Hon.)
Title of Minister:
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Issue/Question:

Implementation of an Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms (C-71).

Suggested Response:

• Our government has tabled regulations to require licence verification so that only those individuals with a valid firearms licence may purchase non-restricted firearms.

• The regulations will also require businesses to keep the records law enforcement needs to investigate and trace crime guns.

• The records will be held by businesses — not government — and the police will need judicial authorization to access the records; we will not recreate the long-gun registry.

• In the coming weeks, our government will enact additional measures to require lifetime background checks and to restore limits on the transport of restricted and prohibited firearms.

• Budget 2021 provided $312 million over five years, starting this year, and $41.4 million ongoing, to implement legislation to help protect Canadians from gun violence and to fight gun smuggling and trafficking.

• These measures will further strengthen our firearms laws and increase public safety, while respecting lawful firearms owners.

Background:

An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms (C-71) received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019. The following proposed regulatory amendments will be pre-published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, for 30 days beginning on June 26, 2021, and have been tabled in both Houses of Parliament for review by committee:
• Licence verification (not in force): C-71 provides that vendors must verify the firearms licence of the buyer, by contacting the Registrar of Firearms before transferring a non-restricted firearm. The Registrar would check the licence number in the Canadian Firearms Information System and issue a reference number if the licence is valid.
o Proposed regulatory amendments would provide that the buyer must give the vendor the information on the front of the licence card (including the photograph), that the vendor must verify the identity of the buyer (where possible), and that any reference number issued by the Registrar would be valid for 90 days.

• Business record-keeping (not in force): C-71 requires that businesses keep records on the possession and disposal of non-restricted firearms as a condition of the business licence.
o Proposed regulatory amendments would prescribe the information which must be recorded (characteristics of the firearm, including make, model, and serial numbers; activities related to its possession [e.g. purchase by the business, repair, modification, etc.] and disposal [e.g. its sale, gifting, deactivation, etc.] and their dates); that the business must retain the records for a minimum of 20 years; that businesses who are going out of business must forward the records to a prescribed official (the Registrar); and that the Registrar may destroy the records after 20 years from the date of receipt.
o The Firearms Information Regulations (Non-restricted Firearms) would be repealed as they prohibit imposing conditions on business licences that these records be kept.
o The Aboriginal Peoples of Canada Adaptations Regulations (Firearms) would be amended to remove references to sections of the Firearms Licences Regulations that will be repealed. The sections to be repealed deal with the now-defunct Possession-Only Licence, and there will be no impact on Indigenous firearms licence holders.

Should the Government succeed in obtaining the Committee report prior to the House and Senate rising for the summer, the regulations would be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, and brought into force in Fall 2021. If the Committee does not report prior to the House rising, final approval of the regulations and coming into force would be pursued after the Committee reports following resumption of Parliament in the fall. At the same time as these regulations are brought into force, the Government will also bring into force another element of C-71, namely the repeal of the “deeming provisions”. This would remove the authority for the Governor-in-Council to ‘deem’ firearms to be of a less restrictive class, irrespective of any RCMP technical finding, and return full control over technical firearms classification to the RCMP.

In addition to these regulations, PS is working to bring into force two other elements of C-71 as soon as possible:

• Expanded background checks to determine eligibility for firearms licences from the previous five years to the entirety of a person’s life; and
• Requirement for a separate Authorization to Transport (ATT) when transporting restricted and prohibited firearms to any place except to an approved shooting range or to bring the firearm home after purchase.

Several provisions, including those clarifying that seized firearms are considered forfeited to the Crown, and those allowing remaining long-gun registration records to be transferred to Quebec, have come into force.

Additional Information:

None

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