Today we are taking the opportunity to answer questions about the legality of body armour in Canada (and more specifically in Saskatchewan).
Body armour is generally protective clothing which is worn with the intention of absorbing or deflecting slashing, bludgeoning and penetrating attacks by different types of weapons. Though it’s usually used by militaries, paramedics, security personnel and police forces, private citizens in Canada may also acquire body armour.
There are two main types of protection commonly used: regular non-plated armour is used to stop lighter rounds – this includes Kevlar and other fibers. This could be a bulletproof or stab-resistant vest. Hard-plate reinforced personal armour affords users much heavier local protection. Both appear to be treated equally under our laws.
Common and ordinary use may, for example, include a shooter using it for increased protection against errant rounds and ricochets while target shooting.
Although firearms are governed federally, body armour is not regulated in the same manner. Provinces make their own regulations and legislation. A search of the Firearms Act does not show anything for the words “armor” or “armour”, and so regulation of Kevlar vests etc. falls on the provinces rather than federal gun legislation.
In some cases (such as in B.C.), a PAL or registration is written in by provinces as requirements to possess body armour.
Provincially, when we queried for information, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice had this to say in response to our email about rules here (June 2016):
“Saskatchewan does not have specific provincial legislation regarding body armour like that in B.C. Accordingly, its legality in Saskatchewan will depend on how and when it is used and for what purpose.”
When asked to clarify what constitutes different purposes, the Communications Branch of the Ministry elaborated:
“Under the Criminal Code (Canada), the use of body armour in the commission of a crime may be viewed as an aggravating factor in committing the offense in question. There is no Saskatchewan legislation specific to the use of body armour.”
So the bottom line on what’s allowed: first it depends which province you live in as sometimes there are special requirements such as having your gun license or submitting a registration to your provincial or territorial government.
In Saskatchewan body armour is legal to possess and to use for normal, legal activities such as being at a gun range, personal protective gear, in more dangerous professions such as security, armed guard services, police, military etc.
Across Canada federally it may be considered an aggravating factor should body armour be worn while also committing other crimes.
**Disclaimer: we’re not lawyers. If you need real legal advice, speak with a lawyer such as Solomon Friedman who practices Canadian criminal firearms law regularly.**