We meet regularly with MPs of all political parties across Canada to discuss the various challenges the businesses in their communities experience. Many MPs report that they are completely unaware that some of these challenges exist. Especially challenges since Bill C-71 came into effect.

The system and CFOs cannot support the regulations the Canadian firearm industry is expected to follow. Our requests for simple changes to the call center and Business Web Services portal have not been taken seriously.

These issues are costing businesses tens of thousands of dollars. Our requests for support have either been denied or pushed to the side and will not be entertained “within’ the calendar year”.

Your MP needs to hear from you, as a business owner in their constituency. Bill C-71 has made day-to-day operations burdensome and sometimes impossible.

Below is a template letter from businesses to their MPs. Members are welcome to reach out to [email protected] with questions, or concerns or for assistance with customizing and sending their letters

MONTH-DAY-2022

The Honorable (your local MP)
Street Address
City, Province
Postal Code

Dear Honorable (your local MP)

My name is (—name—) and I am the owner of (—store—) in (–location–). We have been in operation for (00) years and employ (00) people.

Small businesses like mine have suffered obstacles from COVID-19, labour shortages, and supply chain issues over the past few years. On top of these hurdles, licensed firearm businesses are threatened by constant regulatory changes. These changes are almost always made with little to no consultation, notice, or support for the businesses impacted.

Although there are many concerning changes coming soon, today I am writing about Bill C-71. Bill C-71 was passed without any serious consultation with the industry and because of that, businesses like mine are now struggling with simple day-to-day operations.

As of this May, my customers, even though they have a firearms license, must get a reference number for “non-restricted” firearm purchases. If the customer has a valid email address, we can use the “Business Web Services” online portal to obtain this reference number.

The Business Web Services portal is very unreliable and many of our customers either don’t have an email or don’t know which email is attached to their account. The call center is only available on weekdays from 9 to 5, with long wait times and dropped calls. This means that customers often leave unhappy and empty-handed after they have driven hours to shop at my store.

We work hard to follow the laws and regulations, but it is disheartening when we are unable to conduct business because of poorly planned changes. The industry has made very reasonable requests for better service and minor abilities in the online portal to help businesses operate better. We were disappointed when the response to these simple requests was that we wouldn’t see these changes “within this calendar year”.

I support the goal of increasing public safety, and getting illegal firearms off our streets, however, Bill C-71 does not seem to do so, and it is damaging to my business and the entire industry. We need better support and more reliable services if we are expected to work under these new regulations.

I would be happy to discuss these issues in greater detail, including how this bill has virtually put an end to legal gun shows and the increased administrative burdens. Thank you for taking the time to listen to my concerns. I look forward to receiving a response from you on this matter.

Sincerely,

Your Name, Business Name
Street Address
City, Province
Postal Code

As of May 18th, 2022 a reference number is required to legally transfer non-restricted firearms. Firearm stores can generate this reference number through the RCMP Business Web Services portal (only if the customer has a valid email) or through a clerk at the call center (which is only open 9-5 Monday to Friday).

Nearly 30% of customers that go to purchase a non-restricted firearm either don’t know the email address that is on their file with the RCMP or don’t have/use email. When such a situation arises after the call center closes (evenings/weekends) there is absolutely no way to request a verification number to complete the transaction.

During a meeting with the Canadian Firearms Program, we requested alternative authentication criteria. We were told that this is not possible at this time.

People are driving hours to purchase the firearm they want, and leaving empty-handed because of an email address, if their license is one of the many randomly sent for review, or if the system is down.

If businesses are expected to use a system to conduct sales, that system has to work.

Businesses need phone services available after hours and on weekends to support trade shows, those without email, and the constant website outages.

There are a large number of licensed individuals that don’t have a valid email on file or don’t use email at all. They should not be discriminated against.

A large number of licenses are being sent for random review before a reference number can be generated. This review process is taking too long.

There is no way to follow up online to see if or when the reference number has been issued as there is still no search option for reference numbers. The only way to check is by phone and the phone lines are overloaded.

Dealers are losing storage space due to new record-keeping requirements and firearms waiting for approval. Businesses are struggling with new and extreme administrative burdens and a lack of clarity from policymakers.

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