Government Measures to Reduce Gun Violence

Classification: Unclassified

Branch/Agency: CSCCB

Proposed Response:

Financial implications:


Budget 2018 invested up to $327.6M over five years to establish The Initiative to Take Action against Gun and Gang Violence (ITAAGGV). It is a horizontal initiative led by Public Safety Canada (PS) with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the RCMP.

The majority of financial resources, approximately $214M over five years, are allocated to provinces and territories (PTs) to combat the issue of gun and gang violence in communities across Canada by distributing to partners within their jurisdiction that can help:

In 2020-21, the bulk of the funding provided to PS is Vote 5 (Grants and Contributions), totaling approximately $44.5M. PS also receives Vote 1 (O&M) funding of approximately $3M to administer the grants and contributions, conduct research and enhance federal leadership in addressing gun and gang violence.

2019-20 and 2020-21 Allocation of GGVAF Funding
Province 2019-20 $ 2020-21 $ Length of Agreement Date signed 5-year Total $
Newfoundland $162,233 $380,786 5-year Mar 21, 2019 $1,843,987
Prince Edward Island $325,611 $387,316.71 -- -- $1,875,613
Nova Scotia $416,269 $977,051 5-year Mar 6, 2019 $4,731,447
New Brunswick $238,406 $559,577 5-year Mar 19, 2019 $2,709,796
Quebec $8,100,748 $9,635,901 4-year Nov 6, 2019 $46,662,622
Ontario $9,377,756 $13,533,928 5-year Feb 14, 2019 $65,539,130
Manitoba $1,174,313 $2,756,304 5-year Mar 21, 2019 $13,347,624
Saskatchewan $1,046,695 $2,456,764 5-year Mar 1, 2019 $11,897,077
Alberta $4,684,258 $6,166,714 2-year Mar 18, 2019 $29,862,806
British Columbia $2,686,047 $6,304,591 5-year Jan 21, 2019 $30,530,487
Yukon $198,018 $464,780 5-year Dec 21, 2018 $2,250,735
Northwest Territories $198,018 $464,780 5-year Mar 19, 2019 $2,250,735
Nunavut $198,018 $464,780 5-year Feb 21, 2019 $2,250,735
FY - Total Allocation $28,806,390 $44,553,273     $215,752,794

Through the ITTAAGV, an additional $2M will fund initiatives in 2020-21 under the Youth Gang Prevention Fund as part of the $8M allocation over four years that began in 2019.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

$34.5M over five years is provided to the RCMP, with $5.4M in 2020-21, to support the new Integrated Criminal Firearms Initiative (ICFI) which expands the services available to law enforcement by enhancing several capabilities to better combat the use of illegal firearms and improve the national collection, analysis and sharing of firearms-related intelligence and information. More specifically, the ICFI includes new resources to:

The Canada Border Services Agency

$51.2M is provided to the CBSA over five years to enhance their capacity to stem the flow of inadmissible travellers and illegal firearms from entering Canada at vulnerable points of entry and through processing postal facilities. In 2019-20, the CBSA received $12.2M (excluding EBP) through the 2019-20 Main Estimates and was invested in establishing the Detector Dog Program, developing and delivering the Advanced Vehicle Concealment Techniques Course, finalizing designs and details for the RFP that will be tendered for the construction and maintenance of the all-weather facility, as well as procured various equipment (handheld devices, vehicles, trace detection tools and small tool kits) to enhance air cargo security and pallet imaging.

As part of the ITAAGGV, the CBSA received $12.2 million in 2019/20 to improve border operations through measures aimed at enhancing the CBSA’s capacity to detect and interdict illegal firearms at the border. Here are some of the key deliverables and success stories for each of the four categories of CBSA initiatives part of the ITAAGGV since it rolled out:

1) Air Cargo Security (Large X-Ray for Pallets) to enable the CBSA to increase capacity to examine in the air mode

2) Additional Detector Dogs and All Weather Facility (AWF) to increase Agency capacity to accommodate detector dog training and kenneling needs

3) Dual-View X-ray technology (Postal Mode) to enhance Agency ability to screen significantly increased volumes of mail items at all postal facilities

4) Advanced Vehicle Concealment Techniques Course to identify, detect and interdict crime guns, weapons, narcotics and illicit proceeds of crime

Annual Transfer – RCMP to CBSA

In 2003, CBSA took over responsibility from Revenue Canada for administering the relevant non-resident import provisions of the Firearms Act (sections 35 and 36). This included administering the Firearms Act provisions requiring non-residents that import a firearm to have a Canadian firearms licence or complete a Non-Resident Firearms Declarations (NRFD), and collecting a fee. Non-residents who do not hold a Canadian firearms licence may complete a Non-Resident Firearms Declaration at a CBSA border post to temporarily import firearms. This document serves the non-resident in lieu of a firearms licence. It is valid for 60 days, may be used for more than one entry during the validity period, and may be extended by a provincial Chief Firearms Officer.

Funding was transferred from the Department of Justice to CBSA to cover the incremental costs for these responsibilities. Management of the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) was transferred from the Department of Justice to the newly created Canadian Firearms Centre (CFC) in 2002, and finally to the RCMP in 2006. Since this time, the RCMP-CFP has transferred $1.7M annually to the CBSA to cover the incremental costs incurred to administer the provisions of Section 35 of the Firearms Act. CBSA processes approximately 50,000 Non-Resident Firearms Declarations per year, and in recent years has remitted approximately $1.2M in fees annually to the Receiver General.

With respect to firearms, CBSA officers do not have the specific enforcement authority conferred directly upon them under the Firearms Act (FA) in the same manner that they do under the Customs Act (CA). Instead, CBSA’s general authority with respect to all goods entering Canada under the CA applies equally to firearms. There are certain obligations in the CA with respect to goods entering Canada (including firearms) such as in relation to the reporting of goods under section 12 and the obligation to answer questions truthfully with respect to such goods under section 13 to which travellers are required to adhere. In addition, the CBSA examination authorities within sections 98 and 99 of the CA apply to, “…any goods the importation or exportation of which is prohibited, controlled or regulated under this or any other Act of Parliament.” This provision is the key enabling aspect of the CA whereby the CBSA derives its examination authorities with respect to all goods (including firearms) regulated by other government departments under other Acts of Parliament (including the FA). The manner in which the CA is written (through the inclusion of the “any Acts of Parliament” provision) provides general authority with respect to any goods crossing the border without the need for a legislative reference in each of these other Acts or any other future Acts.

Section 35 of the FA requires non-residents, 18 years of age or older, to declare their firearms to a border services officer and complete the prescribed forms and (in the case of a restricted firearm) produce an authorization to transport. Beyond ensuring all goods entering Canada are properly reported and imported, the CBSA also has an obligation to ensure that imported firearms and gun parts meet all of the importation requirements according to their classification, including licencing and registration (temporary or otherwise) as specified in the FA. The CBSA’s role at the border is a logical fit in relation to these activities.

The CBSA has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Canadian Firearms Program (administered by the RCMP) for the administration of Non-Resident Firearms Declarations at the border and the transfer of appropriate funds. The funds are used by CBSA headquarters for the administration of the program on behalf of the RCMP. These funds are also distributed to the regions based upon the volumes of non-resident firearms declarations processed. This operational activity is folded into regular day-to-day duties performed by the CBSA at the ports of entry. In 2018-19 the CBSA completed close to 40,000 non-resident firearms declaration forms nationally. Provisions is government by a MOU that has been extended to 2022. We are working together to modernize that MOU, particularly as it relates to reporting of firearms and financial transfers between organizations.

The RCMP has the primary responsibility to administer the FA through the Canadian Firearms Program while the CBSA has the responsibility to regulate and control the importation or exportation of goods that are prohibited, controlled or regulated (including firearms, in accordance with section 35 of the FA). Given the CBSA’s broad mandate at the border, the RCMP provides the CBSA with $1.7 million annually for the administration of the Non-Resident Firearm Declaration forms given that the CBSA was deemed to be best placed to administer this particular process. This process includes ensuring that temporarily imported firearms comply with all of the requirements of the FA, including reporting, licencing, registration, and completion of the Non-Resident Firearm Declaration forms. The CBSA is not opposed to these funds being permanently transferred to the CBSA and would be open to discussing this possibility when the current MOU is renewed.


Prepared by: Candi Ager, Manager, Guns and Gangs, FOPPD, CSCCB, 613-991-9932

Approved by: Ellen Burack, Assistant Deputy Minister, CSCCB, 613-990-2703

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