Firearms Buy-Back Program

Date: May 18, 2021

Classification: Unclassified

Branch/Agency: CSCCB/Public Safety


Additional appropriation request to support buy-back program development work and a national social marketing campaign on firearms.

Proposed Response:

Financial Implications:


On May 1, 2020, the Regulations Prescribing Certain Firearms and Other Weapons, Components and Parts of Weapons, Accessories, Cartridge Magazines, Ammunition and Projectiles as Prohibited, Restricted or Non-Restricted were amended to prescribe as prohibited approximately 1,500 models of firearms and their variants, along with upper receivers for some newly prohibited firearms. Of those, nine principal models of assault-style firearms are prohibited as they have semi-automatic action with sustained rapid-fire capability (tactical military design with large magazine capacity), are of modern design, and are present in large volumes in the Canadian market. Also included are two categories of firearm that exceed safe civilian use: firearms with 20 mm bore or greater or with a muzzle energy of greater than 10,000 Joules.

The prohibition limits access to the most dangerous firearms and removes them from the Canadian market. An amnesty was put in place to give existing owners time to come into compliance with the law. The amnesty also provides a temporary exception for Indigenous persons exercising S.35 Constitutional rights to hunt and for sustenance hunters to allow for continued use of newly prohibited firearms (if previously non-restricted) until a suitable replacement can be found.

Buy-back Program Design

Following an unsuccessful solicitation process launched during summer 2020 timeframe, Public Safety published an amended Request for Proposal (RFP) during fall 2020 seeking professional services for the development of advice on options and approaches to inform firearms pricing models, as well as the design, implementation and management of a buy-back program for recently prohibited firearms. Following a competitive process, IBM Canada was awarded the contract in December of 2020.

Phase 1 of the work consists of developing firearms pricing scheme, compensation approaches for owners (including businesses), and as well as program design options for the establishment and management of a buy-back program. PS, through the buy-back secretariat, the RCMP, and other federal government stakeholders, are actively supporting the IBM Canada’s team of contractors. This initial development work is anticipated to span throughout the spring of 2021.

PS has an option to extend the contract and proceed with a second phase of work, which could include but is not limited to revisiting the program design and processes to ensure alignment. A decision to proceed with the second phase will be made in the coming weeks as we near the end of phase 1.

Financial Implications

As part of the mandate commitments, on May 1, 2020, the Government announced the immediate prohibition of over 1,500 models of assault-style firearms and their variants, and signaled its intent to implement a buy-back program for newly prohibited firearms. The $8.8 million in additional appropriations is required to design and develop a buy-back program and to advance a national social marketing campaign, in support of Government’s broader efforts to reduce gun violence.  


Prepared by: [Redacted], Senior Policy Analyst, Community Safety and Countering Crime Branch, [Redacted]

Prepared by: [Redacted], A/Director General, Community Safety and Countering Crime Branch, [Redacted]

Approved by: Talal Dakalbab, Assistant Deputy Minister, Community Safety and Countering Crime Branch, 613-852-1167

Date modified: