Date: March 1, 2022
Classification: Unclassified
Branch / Agency: CPB

Proposed Response:


Government Measures to Combat Gang Violence

In the 2020 Fall Economic Statement the government committed to providing dedicated funding of $250 million over five years, beginning next fiscal year to municipalities and Indigenous communities to support prevention and intervention programs to reduce gun and gang violence.

The new funding builds on the Government’s earlier investments, in 2018, of $327.6 million over five years, and $100 million ongoing, to establish the Initiative to Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence. The majority of resources, approximately $214 million over 5 years is allocated to provinces and territories (PTs) to combat the issue of gun and gang violence in communities across Canada, under the Gun and Gang Violence Action Fund (GGVAF).These resources complement existing efforts under the National Crime Prevention Strategy through the Youth Gang Prevention Fund, which received additional $8 million over four years beginning 2019. It is a horizontal initiative led by Public Safety Canada (PS) with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the RCMP.

Government Measures to Strengthen Gun Control

Former Bill C-21, An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms), proposed amendments to address gun smuggling and trafficking, among others increasing maximum penalties for gun trafficking, smuggling and related offences from 10 to 14 years imprisonment and increasing information sharing between RCMP and Canadian law enforcement agencies for the purpose of investigating or prosecuting firearms trafficking offences. Bill C-21 died on the Order Paper with the dissolution of Parliament. New legislation is required to meet platform commitments.

An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms (former Bill C-71) received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019. Two elements were brought into force via an Order in Council on July 7, 2021: 1) expanded background checks to determine eligibility for firearms licences from the previous five years to the entirety of a person’s life, as well as enhanced screening to consider harassment, restraining orders, and a history of violence; and 2) re-instatement of the requirement for a separate Authorization to Transport when transporting restricted and prohibited firearms to any place except to an approved shooting range or to bring the firearm home after purchase. Two additional measures – licence verification and business record keeping - were pre-published in Part I of the Canada Gazette for public comment on June 26, 2021. The regulations are currently before Parliament for its review, and are anticipated to come into force in 2022.

Government Measures to Combat Smuggling and Trafficking

The Initiative to Take Action against Gun and Gang Violence (ITAAGGV) provides $125.0M to the RCMP and CBSA to enhance firearms investigations and strengthen controls at the border to prevent illegal firearms from entering the country. This investment enhances the RCMP’s regional firearms intelligence presence and creates a dedicated analytical capacity to develop actionable intelligence reports for law enforcement at the local, regional and provincial/territorial level. For CBSA, this funding provides them with greater operational capacity to screen passengers and examine commercial shipments, thereby protecting Canadians by preventing firearms and inadmissible people from coming into the country illegally.  It also supports CBSA investments in an all-weather detector dog training facility, additional detector dog teams at key highway crossings, expansion of x-ray technology at postal centers and air cargo facilities, and key training in the detection of concealed goods in vehicles crossing our borders. 

Building on these investments, in Budget 2021 an investment of $312M over five years was announced, starting in 2021–22, and $41.4M  per year ongoing for PS, CBSA, and the RCMP to implement a suite of measures to help protect Canadians from gun violence and to fight gun smuggling and trafficking. This funding includes investments to increase RCMP capacity to trace crime guns and detect straw purchasing and enhance CBSA intelligence and investigative capacity at the border.

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