Regulations Amending the Firearms Marking Regulations
The marking of firearms is a critical element in the process of tracing crime guns and combatting illicit activity, including the trafficking and stockpiling of firearms. Tracing is a best practice undertaken at the outset of an investigation and can assist in focusing them, offering early investigative leads. It also forms a key component of treaties of the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of American States (OAS) and is an essential tool for international firearms investigations involving Interpol and the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, among others.
The Regulations currently stipulate that (a) the markings need to be permanently stamped or engraved on the frame or receiver of all firearms manufactured in, or imported into, Canada; and (b) domestically manufactured firearms must bear the name of the manufacturer, the serial number and "Canada" or "CA", while imported firearms must be marked with "Canada" or "CA" and the last two digits of the year of import, e.g. "22" for 2022; and (c) the markings must be of specific dimensions to prevent obliteration of the data and allow for tracing. The coming-into-force of these regulations has been deferred since 2004. The final form of the regulations is still being developed.
Potential impacts on Canadians, including businesses
The proposed Markings Regulations would impact all domestic importers of firearms as well as all domestic manufacturers. Both imported and manufactured firearms would need to comply with the marking requirements.
Regulatory cooperation efforts (domestic and international)
The marking of specific information on firearms is a key element of the tracing process, and is one of several requirements of the UN Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition (the UN Firearms Protocol) and the OAS Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA)). These international treaties seek to counter the illegal production and movement of firearms by enabling crime guns to be traced in order to combat terrorism, organized crime and other criminal activities. Canada signed the UN Firearms Protocol in 2002 and CIFTA in 1997, and would need to implement the proposed regulatory changes in order to ratify either of these treaties.
Consultations have taken place with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and through the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee (CFAC). The CFAC membership typically includes representatives from the legal community, law enforcement, public health advocates, tourism and agriculture industries, shooting sports associations and women's and victims' groups.
Departmental contact information
Crime Prevention Branch
Date the regulatory initiative was first included in the Forward Regulatory Plan
For more information
- Government-Wide Forward Regulatory Plans
- The Cabinet Directive on Regulatory Management
- Developing and Improving Federal Regulations
- Date modified: