Government of Canada announces agreement with industry in latest step towards Firearms Buyback Program

News release

April 26, 2023 - Ottawa, Ontario

Canadians deserve to be safe in their communities. Far too often people are killed or injured because of gun violence, and far too often criminals have used military-style assault rifles in the worst mass casualties in our country’s history. These guns are designed to kill the greatest number of people in the shortest amount of time and have no place in Canada. That is why in 2020, the Government of Canada banned the use, sale, or import of 1,500 assault-style firearms and committed to a buyback program to get these firearms out of our communities for good.

The Minister of Public Safety, the Honourable Marco Mendicino, today announced that the Government of Canada has taken another significant step towards launching the Firearms Buyback Program by signing a contract with the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association (CSAAA,) who will represent business interests in the Firearms Buyback Program.

The CSAAA will work in collaboration with Public Safety Canada in support of the first phase of the Firearms Buyback Program, which will focus on business and industry. The CSAAA will identify the existing inventory of prohibited firearms (including parts and components) held by businesses, and work with retailers and the federal government to streamline the buyback process. The CSAAA will also act as the primary source of information for industry. As an industry leader and a trusted source of information for firearms retailers, distributors, and manufacturers, the CSAAA is well-positioned to take on this important work.

This first phase of the program, involving industry, is expected to begin later this year. The second phase, which will follow, will focus on individual firearms owners across Canada. The CSAAA will not be involved in this phase.  The Government of Canada is currently working with many partners to develop the Firearms Buyback Program, which will be implemented in close partnership with local police of jurisdiction. The Government is also engaging third parties in the public and private sector to explore opportunities to leverage their expertise and capacity. 

No single program or initiative can tackle the challenge of gun violence alone. That is why the Firearms Buyback Program is one of many elements in the government’s plan to keep Canadians safe. This begins with strong borders, where the Government has added resources to fight smuggling and stop guns from coming into Canada. It includes strong legislation such as Bill C-21 – which implements a national freeze on handguns, takes aim at organized crime and addresses the alarming role of guns in domestic violence. Finally, it means implementing strong prevention strategies within communities, headlined by the $250 million Building Safer Communities Fund, which aims to stop gun violence before it starts.


“Assault-style firearms like the AR-15 have no place in Canada. That’s why we banned them, and why we’re launching a buyback program to get them off our streets while fairly compensating owners. The successful implementation of this program is no small feat, and we appreciate the expertise of the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association. This is the first step towards getting assault-style firearms out of our communities.”

- The Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety

“The firearms community in Canada has always supported responsible gun ownership and will continue to comply with all federal laws. The CSAAA is committed to ensuring firearms businesses are informed of their options and receive their full compensation.”

- Wes Winkel, President, Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association

Quick facts

  • On May 1, 2020, the Government prohibited approximately 1,500 models of assault-style firearms.

  • Since 2020, approximately 500 additional assault-style firearms have been prohibited in Canada due to newly completed firearms classifications that identify variants or modified versions of prohibited firearms.  

  • In Budget 2023, the Government announced an investment of $29 million over five years to implement an IM/IT solution for the Firearms Buyback Program to compensate firearms owners and businesses and safely remove assault-style firearms from Canadian communities.

  • In Budget 2021, the Government announced an investment of $312 million over five years to increase law enforcement capacity to combat firearms smuggling and trafficking.

  • From 2021 to 2022, the Canada Border Services Agency seized over 1,200 firearms, the largest number of seizures recorded in a single year.

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Audrey Champoux
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Public Safety

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada

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