July 5, 2021
Federal Firearms Buy-Back Program Estimated Cost Report
Information & Education | Regulations
On May 1 2020 the Canadian Liberal Government announced an Order In Council (OIC) firearms prohibition. As part of this order the Government implemented an amnesty period (ending April 30 2022) to allow legal firearms owners the time necessary to become compliant with the new law. They also announced that they would introduce a buy-back program for the legal firearms owners affected by the OIC.
Since the mention of the buy-back program, there have been many questions around how much this federal buy-back would cost Canadians. Well, as of June 29 2021, the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) has finally released their report on what they estimate the cost of this program to be. Spoiler alert, it’s not cheap. They’re estimating a cost that ranges between $47 million to $756 million.
One might wonder why this cost range is so large, this is because some firearms which were prohibited in the order were Non-Restricted, meaning that there is no data on ownership and thus an exact number of firearms affected by the prohibition is not known. Between Government data from Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, RCMP, and data the Government received from Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association (CSAAA), they estimate roughly 150,000 – 518,000 affected firearms which will fall under the buy-back program.
The estimated cost has two different compensation structures, one based on firearms condition (new or near new, used, and poor), and the other based on the market value. The PBO has based compensation estimates not only on firearm condition and market value, but also data from other jurisdictions which implemented and carried out similar buy-back programs such as New Zealand, which passed their buy-back program in April of 2019.
So far the estimate only includes costs of firearms compensation to private firearms owners, and not program administration costs, potential compensation of firearm ammunition, parts, or business losses. When New Zealand implemented it’s buy-back they estimated it to cost $18 million, but as of February 2020, the estimate nearly doubled to $35 million. No doubt Canada could be looking at a similar situation, especially when factoring in logistical costs of how to carry out the program such as consulting services, technology for tracking returned firearms, personnel, the collection of the firearms themselves, assessments for proper compensation, and more.
The above is just our summary of key details from the cost estimate of the firearm buy-back program report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer, you can read the full report here.