Firearms Marking Regulations Take Effect Next June

Canadian regulations requiring firearms to be marked in accordance with an international treaty come into effect in exactly one year.

First introduced in 2004 under the Liberal government of former Prime Minister Paul Martin, the regulation known as SOR/2004-275 Firearms Marking Regulations will require that all firearms imported into or made in Canada carry a permanent marking indicating the country and year of import/manufacture.

This would mean that individuals, businesses and public agencies who import firearms into Canada for any reason after June 1, 2017 will have 60 days from the time the firearms are released by customs to etch or engrave a marking such as “CANADA 17” or “CA 17”, indicating the country and the last two digits of the year of import.

Also, firearms manufacturers in Canada, such as Colt Canada, Savage Arms, and numerous smaller ones, would need to apply the marking to guns at the time of manufacture.

The regulations had been deferred from implementation several times since they were first introduced, first by the Martin government, and then six times under the Stephen Harper Conservatives.  The current Liberal government under Justin Trudeau is not likely to defer the regulation again. During the 2015 federal election, the Liberal party campaigned on a promise to implement the marking regulations immediately.

The regulation stems from a United Nations protocol against the illegal trafficking of firearms.  Article 8 of the protocol requires the parties of the protocol to implement firearms marking systems for the purpose of identifying and tracing firearms.  In theory, the markings would be added to a firearm anytime it is imported into another country that is a party to the agreement, leaving a traceable record of its previous import history in its markings.