Firearms Buyback Program Overview

Branch Overview

The Firearms Buyback Program (FBP) provides strategic advice, oversight, and direction on the design, development, implementation and management of the buyback program for assault-style firearms (ASFs). The FBP supports the Minister of Public Safety in the implementation and management of the Ministerial commitment related to the establishment of a national buyback program for ASFs.

The FBP is composed of four divisions:

  1. Program Design;
  2. Policy;
  3. Program Management Office; and
  4. Program Governance and Engagement.

These divisions report to the Assistant Deputy Minister, Firearms Program Branch. Currently, the FBP employs twenty-four employees with an operating budget of approximately $5.4M. It should be noted that while staffing efforts are underway to grow the team to deliver on all the priorities, current HR pressures and backlogs in issuing security clearances are a challenge, resulting in delays in onboarding.

Key Files and Responsibilities

Buyback Program

The Prime Minister has given the Minister of Public Safety a clear mandate to make it mandatory for owners to dispose of their ASFs, including surrendering them to the Government for compensation or having them rendered inoperable at the Government's expense. The recent Speech from the Throne reaffirmed the Government of Canada's resolve to do more to keep Canadians safe from gun crime, which includes implementing the firearms buyback program. An Amnesty is in place until October 30, 2023, to protect lawful firearms owners and businesses from criminal liability for illegal possession and to allow them time to come into compliance with the law.

The total number of impacted ASFs is estimated to be approximately 144,000. This figure is an estimate as only some of the firearms were previously restricted, and therefore registered with the Canadian Firearms Program. Industry estimates are much higher at 518,000.

Program design is expected to involve a hybrid implementation model, with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), provincial/municipal police, and business partners all collecting and destroying ASFs in their areas of service. Given this distributed approach, the Firearms Program is engaging with Provinces, Territories and Municipalities, and the firearms industry, to secure their participation and make certain that the buyback program is implemented in a safe and efficient manner.

A staged implementation is planned, with the collection of business stock beginning before the end of the year, and to get started with individual collection in the second half of 2023.


Priorities for the FBP in the near term including finalizing the overall program architecture and design; and bringing forward a Memoranda to Cabinet (MC) for program implementation, followed by an off-cycle Budget request, and multiple Treasury Board Submissions for project and expenditure authority. Below are more details on the responsibilities of the various divisions.

Program Design Division

The Program Design Division is responsible for designing the overall program architecture, including process mapping and development. The Division liaises with multiple partners on Information Management and Information Technology solutions, including PS's Chief Information Officer, Shared Services Canada, and the Treasury Board Secretariat, on IM/IT businesses analysis. The Division works closely with the RCMP in designing the program, and with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) in the establishment of a call centre and payments processes for the program. Currently, the Program Design Division employs three staff.

Policy Division

The Policy Division is responsible for identifying and seeking the necessary authorities to implement the buyback program. Key functions of the Policy Division include leading the development of MC and Treasury Board Submissions, budget and off-cycle Budget requests, developing briefing material for senior executives, advising and supporting senior executives on external engagement, as well as maintaining relationships with Central Agencies. Currently, the Policy Division employs six staff.

Program Management Office Division

The Project Management Division is responsible for developing the project plan of the buyback Program and managing all deliverables in accordance with the plan. Key functions of the Division include providing a framework for the buyback Program's activities, establishing project schedules, setting milestones and coordinating activities. The Division is also responsible for ensuring that the Case Management System Business Requirements are integrated with the Chief Information Officer Branch CMS Design and Testing Team. Key activities are Establishment and Approval of Charter, Scope, Design and Build Business Requirements, User Acceptance Testing and Roll-Out Phase Plan. The Division is equally responsible for designing and implementing an internal audit and reporting framework. In addition, the Division manages the various contractors and consultants hired to assist in the design, development monitoring and reporting of the buyback Program, which includes IBM consultants tasked with the refinement of business processes and an external management group monitoring all gating aspects of the program. Currently, the Project Management Office Division employs one employee.

Program Governance and Engagement Division

The Program Governance and Administration Division is responsible for supporting the buyback program governance committees in a Secretariat capacity. Currently, the Program Governance Division employs two staff.

Key Partners

The FBP works with a variety of partners to achieve its mandate commitment. The FBP works with the RCMP, ESDC, and Shared Services Canada (SSC) on program design efforts and MC development.

The FBP also works with international partners, including the New Zealand Police, to inform program design development and apply lessons learned from their buyback experience. The FBP is currently working with Provinces, Territories and Municipalities to seek partnerships for program implementation. It is also working with businesses to finalize the business compensation model and establish partnerships to collect and destroy business stock.

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