April 27, 2017
On April 26, 2017, the Court of Quebec (i.e. Quebec Provincial Court) heard and decided a case involving the scope of the discretionary power of the Chief Firearms Officer(s), to attach conditions to licences and authorizations issued pursuant the Firearms Act.
The Applicant, Marc-André Paquin, is an NFA member and professional fur trapper who had sought and was denied an authorization to transport (ATT) and authorization to carry (ATC) a restricted firearm, in connection with his fur trapping activities. He challenged the decision of the Quebec Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) to deny these authorizations with the full financial and legal support of the NFA, through the NFA’s Quebec based attorney, Guy Lavergne.
The Quebec CFO’s denial of the ATT and ATC to Mr. Paquin was based upon the Applicant’s refusal to submit to additional firearms safety training and other new requirements, normally applicable to Quebec target shooters, which the Quebec CFO wrongly deemed to be applicable to individuals seeking an ATC.
The Court ruled that the CFO could not extend these requirements to ATC applicants. Further, the Court ruled that the CFO’s power under s. 58(1) of the Firearms Act, to attach conditions to a licence or authorization, is not unfettered. The CFO cannot use that power to create rules of general application, akin to legislation. Rather, the CFO’s power is limited to the stipulation of conditions that are specifically tailored to the specific circumstances of the Applicant. The Court also said that the CFO cannot fetter that discretion by enacting an inflexible policy of general application. Rather, each application must be evaluated on its own merit.
Before the Court, the Quebec CFO stated that the policy stemmed from similar initiatives undertaken by the RCMP in up to five other provinces. The NFA will closely monitor whether that is indeed the case and might take further action, as the need arises.
At the NFA, we are proud of having been instrumental to this landmark decision.
Canada’s National Firearms Association is this country’s largest and most effective advocacy organization representing the interests of firearms owners and users.
For more information contact:
Blair Hagen, Executive VP Communications, 604-753-8682 Blair@nfa.ca
Sheldon Clare, President, 250-981-1841 Sheldon@nfa.ca
Canada’s NFA toll-free number – 1-877-818-0393
NFA Website: www.nfa.ca