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Ombudsman’s statement regarding the passage of Bill C-71 in the Senate

I am pleased to see that Bill C-71 has passed in the Senate. In particular, I commend the government for restoring controls on sales of non-restricted firearms requiring that gun dealers record the firearm sales of rifles and shotguns.

However, in my submission to the government’s engagement process, I noted my concern that perspectives on victimization were not explored by the online survey conducted to gauge Canadians’ views. In keeping with my mandate to promote awareness of the needs and concerns of victims of crime, I am of the view that strategies to reduce gun violence in Canada must integrate victims’ perspectives.

I also believe that more can be done to protect Canadians, particularly in the context of gender-based violence. In 2016, there were nearly 700 police reported cases of intimate partner violence involving a firearm – up by a third since 2013. This statistic speaks to the need for further strengthening firearms controls with a view to prevention of such violence. For example, research-based evidence from 130 studies conducted in 10 different countries over the course of 60 years indicates that a coordinated implementation of multiple laws and policies targeting firearms controls and restrictions is associated with reductions in firearms deaths.   

I think that this is an outcome we can all agree is beneficial.


Heidi Illingworth
Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime