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Section V – Special Chapter on Canada Firearms Centre

Overview Summary

The Canada Firearms Centre (CAFC) commenced in 2006-2007 as a stand-alone agency within the portfolio of departments/agencies that report to the Minister of Public Safety. On May 17, 2006, following the announcement of the Government’s action plan, the day-to-day operations of the CAFC were transferred to the RCMP. This includes the overall administration and responsibility for the Firearms Act and the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP). The CAFC is now an operational service line within the National Police Services (NPS) and reports directly to the Deputy Commissioner, NPS. The CAFC has placed additional emphasis on providing direct support to all domestic police and law enforcement agencies and international organizations by furnishing information and expertise relevant to firearms registration and licensing of individuals and businesses. As Canada’s national police force, the RCMP will continue to uphold the Firearms Act and Part III of the Criminal Code.

Mission

The RCMP will continue to develop and oversee an effective firearms registration and licensing system that will ensure compliance with the Firearms Act. In harmony with the RCMP’s goal of Safe Homes and Safe Communities and in support of the RCMP’s strategic priorities, the CAFC will continue to:

  • Provide police and other organizations with expertise and information vital to the prevention and investigation of firearms crime and misuse in Canada and internationally
  • Enhance public safety by reducing threat, injury and death from firearms through responsible ownership, use and storage of firearms

Values

The RCMP will administer the Canadian Firearms Program in accordance with its core values, including the following:

  • Respect the lawful ownership and use of firearms in Canada and support firearm users with quality service, fair treatment and protection of confidential information
  • Recognize that the involvement of the provinces, other federal agencies, Aboriginal peoples, police organizations, firearm owners and users, safety instructors, verifiers, businesses and public safety groups is essential for effective program delivery and achieving success
  • Commit to ongoing improvement and innovation in order to achieve the highest levels of service, compliance, efficiency and overall effectiveness
  • Inform and engage the Canadian Firearms Program’s clients
  • Manage its resources prudently to provide good value for money and clear and accurate reporting of program performance and resource management
  • Uphold the values and ethical standards of the Public Service of Canada and commit to fair staffing, employee development and a work environment that encourages involvement and initiative

Initiatives

Although a new addition to the RCMP, the CAFC supports four of the RCMP’s five strategic priorities as outlined below:

Organized Crime: Working collaboratively with the National Weapons Enforcement Support Team (NWEST), the CAFC assists with efforts to reduce the illicit trafficking of firearms supported by organized crime. The CAFC envisions a greater operational support function and presence in organized crime investigations where firearms are involved.

Terrorism: The CAFC maintains an international presence within the United Nations and works with Interpol to combat the illicit trafficking in small arms. Canada is recognized globally for its firearm controls and the CFP. The CAFC will work within Canada and with international partner agencies to combat the illegal movement of firearms.

Youth: The CAFC promotes the safe storage and handling of firearms for all gun owners and users, with a special emphasis on youth. Young people are encouraged to safely store and use firearms as mandated by the Firearms Act. The CAFC pursued initiatives with First Nations in Ontario and Saskatchewan to develop a firearms safety education component for on-reserve school curricula.

Aboriginal Communities: The CAFC continued to engage Aboriginal people in the Canadian Firearms Program and to financially support Aboriginal projects designed to improve individual and community safety. The Red Sky Mtis Independent Nation continued its successful outreach service to First Nation and Mtis communities throughout northern Ontario. Over 2,000 Aboriginal people living in remote, rural and urban locations were provided outreach services including licence application assistance. Approximately 500 men and women successfully completed the Canadian Firearms Safety Course. Funding from the CAFC also enabled the Tribal Chiefs Peacekeeping and Conservation Commission to successfully implement firearm safety education as a key element of the on-reserve, school curriculum among six Treaty 6 First Nations in east-central Alberta. This unique model of firearm safety education has also been adapted for use by on-reserve schools of four Treaty 6 First Nations in west-central Saskatchewan.

Operating Environment Summary

During 2006-2007, CAFC priorities were influenced by several events. The new government introduced its policy direction for the program; the Auditor General (AG) tabled her second audit report on the Canadian Firearms Program; and thirdly, gun violence in our society. These events are outlined in the following paragraphs.


Financial Resources ($ millions)
Planned Spending
Total Authorities
Actual Spending
$73.6*
$82.6*

$76.6*




Human Resources (FTE utilization)
Planned
Actual
Difference
402 357

45



* Note: Does not include $17.2M for “refunds of amounts credited to revenues in previous years” shown in the 2006-2007 Public Accounts for the CAFC as an adjustment to the Main Estimates authority of $83.6M and to total expenditures.

Shift in Policy Direction

The incoming government’s new policy direction to the Canadian Firearms Program was announced in May 2006 as part of the Government’s action plan. This plan included a fee remission order for the renewal of firearms licences for individuals, the introduction of a one-year amnesty to protect current and previously licensed owners of non-restricted firearms from prosecution, and the transfer of responsibility for the CAFC and the Canadian Firearms Program to the RCMP. Previously planned outreach activities and priorities for 2006-2007 were put in abeyance to allow the CAFC to align itself with the new Government priorities. In combination with the action plan, the Government introduced Bill C-21 [An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act (non-registration of firearms that are neither prohibited nor restricted)] in Parliament in June 2006.

Auditor General’s Report on the Canadian Firearms Program

In May 2006, the AG tabled her second report on the Canadian Firearms Program. In the report, the AG indicated that since December 2002 (date of the first OAG Report), the CAFC had made satisfactory progress in implementing recommendations on financial reporting, had established adequate financial systems, and had also met operating challenges such as spreading out the timing of the mandated five-year licence renewals, expanding service and consolidating its application-processing sites. The AG expressed concern over remaining operational problems associated with the Canadian Firearms Information System II (CFIS II) and was critical of the way the Centre accounted to Parliament for development costs of CFIS II. This concern resulted in a separate chapter in the AG’s Report entitled Government Decisions Limited Parliament’s Control of Public Spending.

The RCMP responded to the AG’s Report by implementing action items that addressed the concerns and recommendations contained in the Report and that fall under its mandate. A Transition Team was created to effect the integration of the CAFC into the RCMP and to address operational issues identified by the AG. An example is the introduction and implementation of the Balanced Scorecard performance measurement tool within the CAFC and the Canadian Firearms Program. A complete list of action items and initiatives in response to the AG’s Report will be published in subsequent RCMP Departmental Performance Reports (DPRs). For the immediate future, the focus for the RCMP and the CAFC is to put in place methodology and practices in addressing recommendations stemming from the AG’s Report and supporting initiatives and priorities of the Government.

Standing Committee on Public Accounts

The release of the OAG (Office of the Auditor General) audit in May 2006 resulted in an increase in program scrutiny and oversight by Parliamentary committees. Following the tabling of the AG’s Report, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts considered the OAG’s findings contained in both Chapter 4 on the Canadian Firearms Program and the special chapter on how government decisions were limited over control of public spending. The Committee met with the AG and her officials, officials of the Treasury Board Secretariat, the Office of the Comptroller General, the RCMP, the Department of Justice, and the previous CAFC management. The Committee issued its findings and recommendations in October 2006 (Ninth Report) and in December 2006 (Tenth Report). The recommendations relevant to the CAFC will be addressed and responses will be published and available in subsequent RCMP DPRs.

Canadian Firearms Information System (CFIS)

Prior to the transfer of the CAFC to the RCMP, Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) had issued a notice of default and stop work order to the service provider on further CFIS II application development and implementation testing. In the interim, the CAFC maintained the existing CFIS I infrastructure in order to ensure a seamless and effective service delivery to Canadians. The RCMP Chief Information Officer has determined that the present CFIS I system is stable and is capable of meeting existing legislative and business requirements over the short term of five years.

Gun Violence in our Society – Dawson College

Following the tragic event that occurred in Montreal in September 2006, the government initiated a review of the continuous eligibility screening process for individuals in possession of firearms. As a result, the CAFC took the lead in developing a strategy for a new enhanced screening initiative for first-time applicants relating to restricted firearms licences. Two references for each applicant will be interviewed by telephone. In the Federal Budget tabled in March 2007, the Government included incremental ongoing funding for implementation of this initiative.

Overall Summary

Within the RCMP’s 2006-2007 Report on Plans and Priorities, the special chapter on the Canadian Firearms Program identified four priorities for the CAFC that had been developed by the previous management prior to the transfer of the CAFC and the program to the RCMP. The RCMP notionally accepted the CAFC’s priorities while recognizing that minimizing firearm-related risks to public safety remained the goal for the program. Transitioning the CAFC and the program into the RCMP and understanding the shift in policy direction by the new Government became priorities. At the same time, additional emphasis was placed on the provision of direct support to all law enforcement agencies and international organizations by furnishing information and expertise relevant to firearms registration information and licensing of individuals and businesses.

Performance

This section presents a breakdown of the CAFC’s performance and results achieved during 2006-2007. The CAFC’s strategic outcome for 2006-2007 remained as before: “the risks to public safety from firearms in Canada and international communities are minimized”. The achievement of this outcome is measured by the following:

  • Reduced access to firearms by those who pose a threat to public safety
  • Useful information for policing and law enforcement purposes
  • Safe use and storage of firearms
  • Efficient, client-centred services and streamlined processes

The results achieved are reported through activities such as:

  • Licensing
  • Registration
  • Justice System Support
  • Border Controls
  • International Initiatives
  • Public/Stakeholder Outreach

Licensing

In order to possess and/or acquire firearms and ammunition in Canada, individuals older than 18 years of age must possess a valid Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL). There are two other licences available to individuals within Canada:

  • Possession Only Licence (POL): this type of licence was introduced to recognize long-term ownership of firearms. A POL does not allow the acquisition of additional firearms but allows possession of firearms owned prior to December 1, 1998
  • Minor’s Licence: this licence is available to persons under 18 years old who wish to borrow non-restricted firearms for specific activities such as target practice or hunting. Licensed minors cannot acquire firearms

As of March 31, 2007, there were 1,901,120 valid individual firearm licences (see Chart 1).

Chart 1: Valid Licences as of March 31, 2007 (Source of Data is the CFIS)


Province/Territory
POL
PAL
Minor
Total
Newfoundland and Labrador
40,106
30,843
140
71,089
Nova Scotia
62,344
20,526
1,005
83,875
Prince Edward Island
5,511
2,044
2
7,557
New Brunswick
64,813
18,687
72
83,572
Qubec
271,503
235,605
49
507,157
Ontario
287,376
233,897
3,808
525,081
Manitoba
48,338
37,430
219
85,987
Saskatchewan
55,280
42,906
134
98,320
Alberta
111,182
99,003
658
210,843
British Columbia
125,531
87,055
205
212,791
Yukon
2,133
3,770
54
5,957
Northwest Territories
1,585
3,875
32
5,492
Nunavut
244
3,155
nil
3,399
Total
1,075,946
818,796
6,378
1,901,120

In 2006-2007, the CAFC issued 360,555 firearms licences to individuals and 447 licences to businesses, as summarized in Chart 2, for a total of 361,002 licences.

Chart 2: Number of Firearms Licences Issued in 2006-2007


Licence Type
Total Issued in
2006-2007

Possession Only

98,265
Possession & Acquisition
259,135
Minors
3,155
Total issued to Individuals
360,555
Total issued to Businesses
447
Total
361,002

Business Licences and Inspections

All businesses and organizations that produce, sell, possess, handle, display or store firearms or ammunition require a valid Firearms Business Licence. All employees of these businesses who are required to handle firearms on the job must have a valid firearms licence. All firearms in a business inventory must be authenticated by an approved verifier and registered. Businesses must submit to periodic inspections by a firearms officer to confirm that they are storing firearms and conducting business in a safe and lawful manner. As of March 31, 2007, there were 4,616 licensed businesses under the Firearms Act, of which 2,482 are licensed to sell ammunition only.

The Firearms Act and regulations set out the safety standards for shooting clubs and ranges, ensuring the safety of patrons and the general public. These clubs and ranges are subject to inspections by firearms officers.

Safety Training

Firearm education is a fundamental element of the Canadian Firearms Program that ensures that a firearm user has basic firearm safety training. To obtain a firearms licence an applicant must have satisfied the requirements of the Canadian Firearms Safety Course (CFSC) or have been alternatively certified. The course ensures that all those who use a firearm are fully aware of their responsibility for the safe handling, transport and storage of firearms. During 2006-2007, 43,468 individuals took either the CFSC (36,077) or the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course (CRFSC) (7,391). (Note: the CFSC is a pre-requisite for the CRFSC.) Chart 3 summarizes the number of persons who completed the courses over the past eight years.

Chart 3: Number of Individuals Who Have Completed Safety Training

Chart 3: Number of Individuals Who Have Completed Safety Training

Individual Licence Renewal

A firearms licence for an individual is valid for five years, at which point the individual must apply to renew in order to retain one’s firearms. The Canadian Firearms Program has taken steps to streamline the renewal process.

To promote compliance, a pre-populated renewal application is mailed to the client for completion 90 days prior to expiry. In 2006-2007, a total of 392,000 licences for individuals (POL and PAL) required renewal. The renewal rate for firearms owners averaged 77% in 2006-2007. Over 125,000 people allowed their licences to expire, resulting in the illegal possession of 234,000 firearms. The Centre has taken steps to follow up with both clients and law enforcement to ensure a return to legal compliance or the proper disposal of these firearms.

Chart 4: Number of Licences Renewed by Individuals in 2006-2007

Chart 4: Number of Licences Renewed by Individuals in 2006-2007

Licence Refusals and Revocations

Licensing of an individual to own firearms requires a variety of background checks. Applicants are screened to detect potential risks to public safety based on the initial application. Continuous eligibility screening is conducted through the life of the licence to identify any public safety risks that may arise over time.

During 2006-2007, initial application screening led to the refusal of 408 firearms licence applications and continuous eligibility screening led to the revocation of 2,015 firearms licences on the grounds of public safety. As of March 31, 2007, there have been 6,739 Refusals and 13,017 Revocations since December 1, 1998.

A Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) has the authority under the Firearms Act to refuse an application for a licence or revoke an issued firearms licence. The reasons for the refusals and the revocations are presented in Chart 6, with the most frequent reason being court-ordered prohibition/probation.

Chart 5: Number of Licence Refusals and Revocations (by year)


Period
Refused
Revoked

2006-2007

408
2,015
2005-2006
348
2,262
2004-2005
423
2,384
2003-2004
875
2,494
2002-2003
1,437
1,688
2001-2002
2,121
798
2000-2001
820
652
1999-2000
303
617
1998-1999
4
107
Total
6,739
13,017

Note: FY 1998-1999 start date is December 1, 1998 for collection of data.

Chart 6: Reasons For Licence Refusals & Revocations (By Order of Highest Frequency)

Chart 6: Reasons For Licence Refusals & Revocations (By Order of Highest Frequency)

Note: A refusal or revocation can be influenced by more than one reason hence the total percentage for all categories of frequency may equal more than 100%.

Firearms Prohibition

The Firearms Act requires the courts to notify the CFO of all firearms prohibition orders. Anyone applying for a firearms licence is screened/compared against prohibition and probation orders, and if an applicant is linked to any of these orders, they are refused a firearms licence. Individuals are then issued a notice with the particulars of the court order. If an individual is in possession of a firearms licence, they are instructed to turn in their licence and dispose of any of their registered firearms. As well, upon notification from the courts, the CFO will administratively revoke the individual’s licence. In addition, the Registrar of Firearms will revoke registration certificates of registered firearms and provide instructions to the individual on how to dispose of firearms and refuse any application in process to register firearms. Firearm prohibition and probation orders are captured in the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) Persons File and form part of the background and continuous eligibility checks. In 2006, approximately 176,206 individuals were prohibited from possessing firearms.

The Canadian Firearms Program also relies on information from municipal, provincial and federal courts in determining whether an individual is a potential threat to public safety. These court orders are typically civil in nature. A match against these court orders may result in the firearms officer conducting an investigation that may lead to a revocation or a change in licence conditions.

In 2006, 64,663 court orders (prohibition, probation and civil orders) were matched against 2,967 Canadian Firearms Information System (CFIS) clients, which led to 1,801 clients having their licences revoked.

Chart 7 Persons Prohibited From Possessing a Firearm

Chart 7 Persons Prohibited From Possessing a Firearm

Note:
Statistics available by calendar year only.
Commencing with 2006, the CPIC system became the source of statistics for the number of persons prohibited from possessing a firearm; In previous years, the source for statistical data was CFIS.
The variance between the two source databases is that CPIC reflects mandatory court ordered prohibitions whereas CFIS reflected the number of individuals as entered into CFIS by CFOs. The increase is also attributable to prohibition being mandatory for certain drug offence charges and convictions.

Registration

The registration of a firearm provides links between firearms and their licensed owners. Recording firearms information helps police and other public safety officials carry out investigations efficiently and effectively by quickly tracing a firearm to its last lawful owner. This facilitates the recovery and return of lost or stolen firearms to their rightful owner. Nevertheless, the costs of universal registration have been high and the Auditor General has identified data quality issues which CFC has sought to address.

In 2006-2007, the CAFC registered 420,826 firearms. A breakdown by class of firearms is presented in Chart 8.

Chart 8: Number of Firearms Registered By Class


Class of Firearm
New Registrations
for 2006-2007
Firearms Registered
as at March 31, 2007

Non-Restricted

366,600
6,499,428
Restricted
39,177
430,610
Prohibited
15,049
226,540
Total
420,826
7,156,578

As of March 31, 2007, a total of 7,156,578 firearms were registered to individuals and businesses throughout Canada (Chart 9).

Chart 9: No. of Firearms Registered by Class and Province/Territory as of March 31, 2007


Province/Territory

Non-restricted firearms
Restricted firearms
Prohibited
firearms
Total
Alberta
754,197
69,537
24,480
848,214
British Columbia
746,363
77,900
31,143
855,406
Manitoba
309,768
14,746
6,747
331,261
New Brunswick
264,103
10,952
5,869
280,924
Newfoundland and Labrador
178,781
3,803
1,640
184,224
Nova Scotia
286,743
14,609
7,872
309,224
Northwest Territories
17,656
1,033
361
19,050
Nunavut
10,393
145
48
10,586
Ontario
1,983,663
156,579
87,530
2,227,772
Prince Edward Island
21,812
1,443
806
24,061
Quebec
1,525,440
56,704
50,728
1,632,872
Saskatchewan
357,595
21,374
8,692
387,661
Yukon
19,326
1,353
442
21,121
Other
1 23,588
432
182
24,202
Total
6,499,428
430,610
226,540
7,156,578

Note: 1Represents Canadians living abroad and/or non-Canadians who registered firearms in Canada

Disposition of Firearms

The Canadian Firearms Registry monitors the disposition of registered firearms. This monitoring not only assists the CAFC in understanding the movement of firearms but disposition information can be crucial during crime investigations. In 2006-2007, individuals and businesses disposed of 177,949 firearms.

Chart 10: Disposition of Firearms


Status

Non Restricted
Prohibited
Restricted
Grand Total
Deactivated
473
420
95
988
Destroyed
4,129
537
410
5,076
Exported1
154,516
9,201
8,168
171,885
Total
159,118
10,158
8,673
177,949

Note: 1 A subset of these were manufactured in Canada for export, and the remaining were exported by individuals and businesses.

Justice System Support

The Canadian Firearms Registry On-line (CFRO) is a subset of the Canadian Firearms Information System. The system is available to Canadian police agencies via the CPIC system to assist them when responding to calls and conducting investigations. As a searchable application, police officers may query firearm-related information such as the serial number or registration certificate number of a firearm or the name, address and firearms licence number of an individual.

CFRO provides police with immediate access to the information they require in their investigational and operational activities. Ongoing support is provided to law enforcement agencies on a case-by-case basis. Chart 11 shows how the use of the CFRO tool continues to increase.

Chart 11: Canadian Firearms Registry On-line queries

Chart 11: Canadian Firearms Registry On-line queries

Note: The on-line queries data for prior years has been adjusted to account for upload of data error between CFIS and CFRO systems.

Affidavit Requests

The Canada Firearms Centre assists the policing community and Crown prosecutors by preparing affidavits that certify licensing or registration information related to individuals or firearms. Typically, affidavit requests are required to determine which firearms an individual has registered to them or to determine if a given firearm is registered. This certification is based on data maintained and controlled by both the Chief Firearms Officer and the Registrar. In 2006-2007, 3,472 affidavits were prepared. As shown in Chart 12, the number of affidavits produced for legal proceedings has continued to increase for the past five years.

The Centre also operates a toll-free 1-800 Police Support telephone help line that assists the law enforcement community with firearm and licence-related questions. In addition, the Centre also provides statistical and legislative information, on an ad-hoc basis, to law enforcement agencies across the country on both legal and illegal firearms.

Chart 12: Number of Affidavits Produced (by Canadian Firearms Registry only)

Chart 12: Number of Affidavits Produced (by Canadian Firearms Registry only)

Border Controls

One of the main policy objectives of Canada’s firearms legislation is to combat illicit trafficking and smuggling of firearms. Greater legislative controls over the importation and exportation of firearms are included in the Firearms Act. Separate offences for smuggling and trafficking are included in the Criminal Code. The CAFC has supported a number of international initiatives dealing with import, export and transit controls of firearms consistent with Canada’s legislative objective.

The CAFC works closely with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to ensure compliance with the Firearms Act. The CBSA is committed to a responsible enforcement program while maintaining the quality of its border services. Non-residents are allowed to import firearms through a firearms declaration that is valid for up to 60 days. These are confirmed by customs officers at border crossings. In addition, the CBSA seizes undeclared firearms at border crossings. Chart 13 identifies, by type, the number of firearms seized in 2006.

Chart 13: Firearms seized by CBSA in 2006 (by class)


Non-restricted
147
Restricted
217
Prohibited
145
Total firearms seized at the border
509

Note: CBSA statistics are only available by calendar year

International Initiatives

During 2006-2007, the CAFC continued to work with the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) as a member of the Canada-US Firearms Trafficking Consultative Group. In November 2006, the Director General of the CAFC co-chaired the Cross Border Crime Forum Sub-Group on Firearms held in North Carolina, where both countries reaffirmed commitments dealing with firearms-related issues. Joint cooperation has led to the development of initiatives to combat firearms trafficking, such as the publication of the first Firearms Trafficking Overview as a public document and a joint awareness campaign poster related to firearms at border crossings. The Overview restates the ongoing commitment to fight illegal movement of firearms and provides a snapshot of general trends and shared public safety concerns. Under the joint awareness campaign, a firearms information poster was developed for display at land, sea and air border crossings within Canada, with the cooperation of CBSA. This poster will also appear at US crossings.

The US Attorney General and the Minister of Public Safety Canada signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the ATF and the RCMP regarding the accessibility of forensic firearms data. This agreement will enable the electronic sharing of forensic ballistic information and enhance joint efforts in fighting firearms crime. Establishment of an electronic interface between the Canadian Integrated Ballistic Identification Network (CIBIN) and the US National Integrated Ballistic Identification Network (NIBIN), which began in 2005, is expected to be implemented in the coming year.

In November 2006, the ATF and some neighbouring US police organizations met with Canadian law enforcement agencies in Montreal to share international firearms intelligence. The purpose of this conference was to improve officer knowledge about policies and procedures, tracing assistance and procedures that will assist in the solving of cases.

Public/Stakeholder Outreach

Activities in outreach support are being re-assessed to allow time for the CAFC to adjust to the shift in Government policy and priorities. The RCMP is examining ways to enhance the Canadian Firearms Program for all Canadians through public safety. In the immediate future, the CAFC will provide leadership and support through the proactive pursuit of timely, accessible and high quality information through engagement initiatives, which will ultimately strengthen working relationships with partners in advancing our strategic direction. Specifically, the CAFC has been active in engaging provincial ministers responsible for public safety, provincial associations of chiefs of police, businesses and Aboriginal community leaders.

Summary: Progress on Priorities

The priorities initially envisioned in the 2006-2007 RPP for the CAFC and the Canadian Firearms Program have now been melded to the RCMP under the umbrella of the National Police Services. Progress achieved in completing the transition is summarized below.

Transition of the CAFC into the RCMP

Operationally, the CAFC reports directly to the Deputy Commissioner, National Police Services (NPS) and is now an operational service line within NPS. From the onset, the mission statement, mandate and values of the CAFC were maintained by the RCMP. Additional emphasis, however, was placed on providing direct support to all law enforcement agencies and international organizations by furnishing information and expertise relevant to firearms registration information and licensing of individuals and businesses.

Transitioning the staff and supporting infrastructure required that all CAFC staff be cleared to RCMP security levels. Savings from merging CAFC corporate units within the existing RCMP units will be used to reduce costs in maintaining the CAFC and administering the Canadian Firearms Program.

Government Action Plan

In May 2006, Cabinet approved the Government’s approach to meet its commitments on the long gun registry and a plan to refocus the Canadian Firearms Program on complementing the needs of the law enforcement community and combating the criminal misuse of firearms. At that time, it was decided to pursue objectives through a short-term action plan and a longer-term legislative strategy.

The short-term action plan announced on May 17, 2006, comprised five elements: transfer of responsibility for the Canadian Firearms Program to the RCMP; reducing the CAFC’s budget by $10M; introducing a one-year amnesty allowing firearms owners who possess non-restricted firearms (typically rifles and shotguns) to bring themselves into compliance with the existing Firearms Act requirements of registration and licensing; implementing a two-year temporary waiver of licence fees paid by Canadians renewing or upgrading their firearms licences and refunding fees paid by those licensees who already had done so; and eliminating the requirement to physically verify non-restricted firearms when transferred to a new owner.

Fee Remission Order

In response to a fee remission order issued by the Government concerning the collection of a fee when renewing a firearms licence, the CAFC issued refund cheques to those individuals who had already paid to renew their firearms licence. Chart 14 provides a breakdown of the number of cheques and refunds issued by jurisdiction from May 16, 2006 to March 31, 2007. In addition, a special refund telephone queue was established at the Central Processing Site (CPS) in Miramichi, New Brunswick to handle calls concerning the fee remission order. The queue received approximately 19,500 telephone calls between May 2006 and the end of February 2007.

Chart 14: Number of Cheques and Refunds Issued by Jurisdiction May 16, 2006 to March 31, 2007


Jurisdiction

# of Cheques
Total Amount ($)
Alberta
32,603
2,050,313
British Columbia
35,457
2,210,269
Manitoba
14,074
846,782
New Brunswick
13,592
811,714
Newfoundland and Labrador
17,181
1,014,140
Northwest Territories
794
48,444
Nova Scotia
13,996
838,845
Nunavut
250
15,569
Ontario
102,505
6,231,027
Prince Edward Island
996
59,938
Quebec
106,637
6,188,371
Saskatchewan
14,591
948,445
Yukon
1,107
69,434
Total
353,783
$21,333,291

Enhanced Screening for New Applicants

The Firearms Act places the authority for licensing fully within the discretion of the Chief Firearms Officer for the province or territory in which the applicant resides. Following the tragic event at Dawson College, the Minister of Public Safety sought Cabinet approval for measures that would strengthen efforts to combat gun violence in Canada. One of those measures proposed by the CAFC is to implement enhanced screening for first-time new restricted firearms licence applicants. Enhanced screening is a natural extension of the current eligibility screening. The CAFC took the lead in developing a strategy for a new enhanced screening initiative that will see new first-time applicants for restricted firearms licences and both of their references interviewed by telephone. This will enable CFOs to identify public safety issues that may not be indicated on an application form or reflected in an applicant’s contact with police. In March 2007, the Government included in the Federal Budget, incremental ongoing funding for implementation of this initiative. Enhancing screening will be implemented before the end of 2007-2008.

Organizational Structure

Operationally, the Director General of the CAFC reports to the Deputy Commissioner, National Police Services. CAFC Headquarters’ operations and the Canadian Firearms Registry are located in the National Capital Region. Regionally, Chief Firearms Officers’ (CFOs) operations are located within each province, five administered by federally appointed CFOs and five administered by provincially appointed CFOs.

A national processing site is located in Miramichi, New Brunswick that processes licensing and registration applications including a national call centre.

In 2006-2007, the processing centre answered over 1,083,083 calls, e-mails and faxes. As well, legal counsel is provided through the Department of Justice in Ottawa, ON, Edmonton, Alberta and in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Financial Tables

The following tables represent financial information for the Canada Firearms Centre.

Table 1: Comparison of Planned to Actual Spending


Program Activity
($ millions)  
2004-2005
Actual
2005-2006
Actual
2006-2007
Main Estimates Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual

Registration, Licensing and Supporting Infrastructure

78.3 68.9 77.7 74.2

Policy, Regulatory, Communications
and Portfolio Integration

5.3 4.7 4.9 2.4

Total

92.8 68.5 83.6 73.6 82.6 76.6

Less: Non-Respendable Revenue

(11.3) (21.9) N/A (4.8) N/A (7.8)

Plus: Cost of services received without charge

3.8 3.6 N/A 4.4 N/A 4.2

Total Departmental Spending

85.3 46.6 83.6 73.2 82.6 73.0
Full Time Equivalents 325 371 402 385 402 357

Note: Included in Section III, Table 1 – does not include $17.2M for “Refunds of amounts credited to revenues in previous years” shown in the 2006-2007 Public Accounts for the CAFC as an adjustment to the Main Estimates authority of $83.6M and to total expenditures.

Table 2: Resources by Program Activity


Program Activity
($ millions)
2006-2007
Budgetary Plus:
Non-Budgetary
Total
Operating Capital Contributions Total:
Gross Budgetary Expenditures
Less:
Respendable
Revenue

Loans
Investments
and
Advances

Registration, Licensing and Supporting Infrastructure

Main Estimates 65.3 0 13.0 78.3 0 78.3 0 78.3

Planned Spending

55.9 0 13.0 68.9 0 68.9 0 68.9

Total Authorities

64.7 0 13.0 77.7 0 77.7 0 77.7
Actual 63.1 0 11.1 74.2 0 74.2 0 74.2

Policy, Regulatory, Communications and Portfolio Integration

Main Estimates

4.3 0 1.0 5.3 0 5.3 0 5.3

Planned Spending

3.7 0 1.0 4.7 0 4.7 0 4.7

Total Authorities

3.9 0 1.0 4.9 0 4.9 0 4.9

Actual

2.2 0 0.2 2.4 0 2.4 0 2.4

Note: Included in Section III, Table 2 – does not include $17.2M for “Refunds of amounts credited to revenues in previous years” shown in the 2006-2007 Public Accounts for the CAFC as an adjustment to the Main Estimates authority of $83.6M and to total expenditures.

Table 3: Voted and Statutory Items


Financial Requirements by Authority ($ millions)

Vote or Statutory Item

Vote or Statutory
Wording
2006-2007 ($ millions)
Main Estimates
Planned Spending
Total Authorities
Actual
Spending
20 Operating expenditures – Non Registration activities 50.8 50.8 51.6 50.6
25 Operating expenditures – Registration activities 14.6 12.0 14.0 11.7
30 Contributions 14.0 12.7 14.0 11.3
(S) Contributions to employee benefit plans 4.2 4.2 3.0 3.0
(S) (Refunds of amounts credited to revenues in previous years 0.0 0.0 17.2 17.2
Total   83.6 73.6 99.8 93.8

Note: Included in Section III, Table 3.

Table 4: Services Received Without Charge


($ millions)
2006-2007
Accommodation provided by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) 2.6
Contributions covering employer’s share of employees insurance premiums and expenditures paid by Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (excluding revolving funds). Employer’s contribution to employees’ insured benefits plans and associated expenditures paid by TBS 1.6
Salary and associated expenditures of legal services provided by Justice Canada 0.0
Total 2006-2007 Services Received without charge 4.2

Note: Included in Section III, Table 4.

Table 5: Sources of Non-Respendable Revenue


  2006-2007 ($ millions)
($ millions) Actual
2004-2005
Actual
2005-2006
Main
Estimates
Planned
Revenue
 Total
Authorities
Actual
Registration, Licensing and Supporting Infrastructure
Licence Applications/ Renewal activities 10.6 18.2 N/A 2.9 N/A 5.8
Non-Resident Declarations N/A 1.9 N/A 1.9 N/A 2.0
Registration Applications1 0.6 0.0 N/A 0.0 N/A 0.0
Miscellaneous (as per Public Accounts) 0.1 1.8 N/A 0.0 N/A 0.0
Total Non-Respendable Revenue 11.3 21.9 N/A 4.8 N/A 7.8

Note: Included in Section III, Table 13. 1 Registration Fees were eliminated following May 2004 Government announcement.
1 Registration Fees were eliminated following May 2004 Government announcement.

Table 6: Resource Requirements by Branch/Sector Level

By organization


Maximize Public Safety Benefits of the Firearms Act
Actual 2006-2007
($ millions)
Office of the Director General
0.4
Program Operations
70.9
Policy, Communications and Consultation (includes Legal Counsel)
2.0
Finance, Administration, Audit and Evaluation
2.5
Human Resources
0.8
Total
76.6

Note: Included in Section III, Table 8 – does not include $17.2M for “Refunds of amounts credited to revenues in previous years” shown in the 2006-2007 Public Accounts for the CAFC as an adjustment to the Main Estimates authority of $83.6M and to total expenditures.

By sector


Maximize Public Safety Benefits of the Firearms Act
Actual 2006-2007
($ millions)
Registrar
4.3
Federal Chief Firearms Officers
5.8
Provincial Chief Firearms Officers
11.1
Aboriginal and Other Communities/Organizations
0.2
Central Processing Site
10.2
IT & Telecommunications
37.2
Federal Partners (RCMP, CBSA, DOJ, PWGSC)
2.2
Policy, Communications and Consultation
1.8
Program Management (formally “Corporate Services”)
3.8
Total
76.6

Note: Included in Section III, Table 8.

Table 7-A: User Fees

Please see Table 9A in Section III.

Table 7-B: Policy on Service Standards for External Fees

Please see Table 9B in Section III.

Table 11: Details on Transfer Payments Programs (TPPs)


Name of Transfer Payment Program: The Firearms Funding Program for Opt-in Provinces and/or Territorial Governments.
Start Date: 1995-1996 End Date: Ongoing Total Funding: $204M to the end of 2006-2007
Description of Transfer Payment Program: Annual funding to participating provinces and/or territories for the reimbursement of costs incurred in the administration of the Firearms Program within their jurisdiction.
Objective(s), expected result(s) and outcomes: Ensure responsible ownership, use and storage of firearms thereby enhancing public safety and help reduce death, injury and threat from firearms.

Achieved results or progress made: Refer to section II – Analysis of performance by strategic outcome.



  2006-2007 ($ millions)
($ millions) Actual Spending
2004-2005
Actual Spending
2005-2006
Planned Spending  Total
Authorities
Actual Spending Variance: Planned vs Actual
Registration, Licensing and Supporting Infrastructure
Total Grants N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total Payments to Provinces and/or Territories 12.5 11.2 13.0 13.0 11.1 1.9
Policy, Regulatory, Communication and Portfolio Integration
Total Aboriginal and/or Other
Communities and Organizations
0.1 0.3 1.0 1.0 0.2 0.8
Total 12.6 11.5 14.0 14.0 11.3 2.7

Note: Included in Section III, Table 13.

Background

The CAFC administers two Contributions Program Funds, the Firearms Funding Program (for Opt-in Provinces) and the Aboriginal and/or Other Communities and Organizations Program (not-for-profit). Terms and Conditions for both of these programs were renewed by TBS in April 2005 for a five year period.

As per the TBS Guidelines, the CAFC is required to provide detailed information on transfer payments programs that exceed $5 million for the reporting year. Only the Firearms Funding Program (for Opt-in Provinces) meets this criterion.

Expected Results

The CAFC is committed to provide funding to provinces that choose to administer the Firearms Program on their own. CAFC has developed service delivery models with the provinces for delivery of the Program activities within their jurisdiction. Funding priorities and activities focus on the delivery and administration of the Firearms Act and the associated Canadian Firearms Program. The delivery of the Program includes, but is not limited to, the following activities:

  • Issuance, renewal and revocation of firearms licences
  • Approval of certain transfers of firearms;
  • Issuance of authorization to transport (ATT) and authorization to carry (ATC)
  • Inspection of firearms related businesses
  • Approval of shooting ranges
  • Safety education and training

Table 12: Status Report on Major Crown Projects

Canadian Firearms Information System II

The RCMP assumed responsibility for the Canadian Firearms Information System II (CFIS II) following the government decision in May 2006 to transfer to the RCMP the day-to-day operations of the Canada Firearms Centre and responsibility and administration of the Canadian Firearms Program. By that time, CFIS II had already been subject to a stop-work order issued by PWGSC.

Description

The Canadian Firearms Information System (CFIS I) is a national system designed to support the administration of the Firearms Act and is supported by EDS Canada Inc. based on a maintenance contract. The current system was put into production on December 1, 1998, and is the single repository for licence and registration information for the Canadian Firearms Program. Since December 1, 1998, approximately two million licences have been issued and seven million firearms have been registered. CFIS links all elements of the Canadian Firearms Program including the Central Processing Site in Miramichi, NB. The system interfaces with the Canada Firearms Registry On-line (CFRO), the Firearms Reference Table (FRT), and the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC). CFIS II is a new technical solution involving the development and implementation of a software application to replace CFIS I. It was designated as a Major Crown Project by Treasury Board in November 2003.

Project Phase

PWGSC issued a notice of default on March 31, 2006. In late April 2006, PWGSC issued a stop work order against CFIS II application development and implementation testing.


Leading and Participating Departments and Agencies
Lead Department:
Royal Canadian Mounted Police – Canada Firearms Centre
Contracting Authority:
Public Works and Government Services Canada
Participating Departments and Agencies:
Canada Border Services Agency
Department of International Trade


Prime and Major Sub-Contractors
Prime Contractor:
CGI Information Systems and Management Consultants Inc.
Major Sub-Contractors:
Bell; NexInnovations; Aliant; HP


Major Milestones
Major Milestones
Date
Effective Project Approval for a redefined Canadian Firearms Information System Redesign granted by Treasury Board
February 5, 2005
Contract amendment signed with the service provider
March 2005
Phased deployment of IT infrastructure
Started December 2005

Progress Report and Explanations of Variances

The existing CFIS I remains stable and is expected to be operational for up to five years within present operating conditions. Upgrades have been implemented to its infrastructure and its functionality. The system is interfacing with all of the other systems required to carry out the operations for the CAFC and the Canadian Firearms Program. A plan has been developed that will see the transition of CFIS components to employee-based operations by the end of two-year period.

Industrial Benefits

Not applicable 

Table 13: Canadian Firearms Program: Federal Government Costs and Anticipated Planned Spending Requirements

In response to Recommendation 4.27 of the May 2006 Auditor General Report on the Canadian Firearms Program, direct and indirect costs are defined as follows:

  • Direct Costs: represent costs reimbursed by the CAFC to its partners for services/activities provided in support of the Program and agreed upon through a Memorandum of Agreement.
  • Indirect Costs: certain costs of the Canadian Firearms Program incurred by federal partners that are not reimbursed by the CAFC (see Auditor General Report – Definitions). Indirect costs can be sub-divided into two categories: those costs incurred by the federal partners and not reimbursed by the Centre. An example would be collective bargaining salary increases that are passed on to departments by Treasury Board or overhead costs for ministerial or infrastructure support. Secondly, indirect costs are those associated with benefits that are accounted as being provided without charge, such as accommodation and government contributions to employee benefits (e.g., the Public Service Dental Plan)

Organization ($ millions)

Past Expenditures
(1995-1996 to
2005-2006)

2006-2007
Expenditures
Direct Costs:
Canada Firearms Centre
663.4
62.7
Royal Canadian Mounted Police 1
117.2
0.0
Other Federal Government Departments (costs reimbursed by CAFC): 
Canada Border Services Agency
20.6
1.7
Department of Justice
1.2
0.8
Public Works and Government Services Canada
1.7
0.1
Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) 2
32.7
0.0
Transfer payments to Provinces
190.9
11.1
Contribution payments to Aboriginal Communities, Other Communities
1.8
0.2
Total Direct Costs:
1,029.5
76.6
Indirect Costs not reimbursed by the Canada Firearms Centre:
Public Safety
1.2
0.3
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
4.3
0.0
Royal Canadian Mounted Police – National Weapons Enforcement Support Team (NWEST)
8.5
0.0
Canada Border Services Agency
7.4
0.0
Correctional Service Canada
36.2
9.3
National Parole Board
5.1
0.9
Department of Justice
11.1
0.0
Department of Foreign Affairs & International Trade Canada
0.4
0.0
Public Works & Government Services Canada
14.2
2.6
Other
9.2
1.7
Total Indirect Costs:
97.6
14.8
Total Program Costs
1,127.1
91.4
Net Revenues 1
(120.6)
(7.8)
Net Program Costs
1,006.5
83.6

Note:
1 Reflects direct costs reimbursed by DOJ/CAFC prior to May 17, 2006 to the RCMP. Starting with 2006-2007, direct and indirect costs incurred by the RCMP in support of the Canadian Firearms Program will be included within the CAFC’s direct operating costs.
2 HRDC no longer provides support services to the CAFC for the Central Processing Site in Miramichi, NB.
Please refer to the table on Horizontal Initiatives for explanations of expected results, planned spending and indirect costs not reimbursed by the CAFC as reported by the Centre’s federal partners to substantiate estimated planned spending requirements related to the delivery of their portion of the Canadian Firearms Program. Expenditures are rounded to the nearest one hundred thousand, e.g., $75,000 is rounded up to $0.1 million, and $45,000 is rounded down to $0.0 million.

Table 21: Horizontal Initiatives

The RCMP as the lead department or as a partner, is engaged in an array of multi-jurisdictional and interdepartmental horizontal initiatives which serve to leverage RCMP capacity through partnerships, shared objectives, and common goals to maximize results for Canadians.

The RCMP is the lead department on the following major horizontal initiatives:

  • Canadian Firearms Program

Supplementary information on horizontal initiatives can be found at:

www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/rma/eppi-ibdrp/hrdb-rhbd/profil_e.asp