Government taking action on gun crime in St. John’s with up to $1.83 million for prevention programs

News release

February 27, 2023

St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

People in St. John’s and across Canada deserve to feel safe in their communities. That’s why the Government of Canada is taking action with a comprehensive plan that gets guns off our streets and puts more resources into our communities. An important element of this work is stopping violence before it starts, which is why the government launched the $250 million Building Safer Communities Fund (BSCF). First announced in March 2022, the BSCF supports local initiatives that prevent gun and gang violence and help young people make good choices.

Today, Joanne Thompson, Member of Parliament for St. John’s East, on behalf of the Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety, announced that St. John’s will receive up to $1,828,979.23 from the Building Safer Communities Fund to prevent gun crime and gang violence in the city. This funding will help address the underlying conditions that give rise to crime. It will support community-led projects to prevent violence among young people who are involved in gangs, or at risk of joining them – helping them set themselves up for success in life.

No single program or initiative can tackle the challenge of gun crime on its own. That is why the BSCF is one of many elements in the government’s plan to keep Canadians safe.

Our work begins at Canada’s borders, where we’ve added resources to fight smuggling and stop guns from coming into the country. The government banned assault-style firearms like the AR-15 two years ago and will soon begin a buyback program to get these weapons of war off of our streets. Finally, we recently introduced Bill C-21 – Canada’s most significant action on gun violence in a generation. This landmark legislation implemented a national freeze on handguns last October, and includes significant provisions to combat organized crime and address the alarming role of guns in domestic violence. 


“My number one priority as Minister of Public Safety is keeping Canadians safe. Investments in grassroots efforts in St. John’s are essential to addressing the social conditions that lead youth and young adults to get involved in a life of crime. Put simply, we must stop gun and gang violence before it starts.”

- The Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety

“This funding from the Building Safer Communities Fund will help support at-risk youth to make healthier choices and better set themselves up for success in life. I look forward to seeing the difference it will make for young people across St. John's.”

- Joanne Thompson, Member of Parliament for St. John’s East

“We are pleased that the Government of Canada is investing in St. John’s through the Building Safer Communities Fund. Community safety is a top priority for our Council and a key focus area in our Healthy City strategy. This support from the federal government will help us to better understand the root causes of crime in this region and to support strategies that put more positive choices in front of individuals who may feel that crime is their only option.”

- Danny Breen, Mayor of St. John’s

Quick facts

  • Public Safety Canada is finalizing agreements with municipalities and communities that have been identified through evidence-based criteria and meet the program requirements. 

  • The amount of BSCF support for a community is based on two major elements: crime severity (homicide by firearm, incidents of firearms offences, organized crime/street gang-involved crime) and population density. 

  • The BSCF builds on the success of the Initiative To Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence. This includes the Gun and Gang Violence Action Fund - a five year $358.8 million investment announced in 2018 - that brings together federal, provincial and territorial supports to tackle the increase in gun-related violence and gang activity in Canada. 

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Audrey Champoux
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Public Safety

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada

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