On November 8th, 2018, Reddit /r/CanadaGuns user /u/22lover/ posted his experience under the Access to Information Act with some interesting information for stats junkies.

“Months ago, a friend of mine had submitted an Access to Info request seeking the number of active permits to carry firearms for protection of life in Canada. Excluding wilderness workers, trappers, armoured car drivers, etc. He finally got this back last week. The number is two.”

The most interesting find from the ATI appears to be that, of Canada’s entire population (~36 million), and PAL-holding community (~2.1 million), only two people out of those couple million are authorized to carry handguns for the purpose of defending life against a human threat. This underscores the rarity of the designation, as your odds are literally one-in-a-million. “CFP advised that there is two ATC’s for the protection of life in Canada” is the single most important phrase in the letter. Simply put, the three main criteria you need to prove are:

  1. You, or another person around you, is in imminent danger.
  2. Police protection is deemed insufficient.
  3. Being in possession of a Restricted or Prohibited firearm is reasonably justified for protection.

As a result of these criteria, we can surmise that very few Canadians would be able to have successful ATCs in the current paradigm.

22lover posted (absent personal information) the Canadian Firearms Program’s reply to the community:

“Oct 22 2018 – RCMP File A-2017-12265

Dear _____

This letter is to follow up with our original response sent to you May 09, 2018 in response to your request under the Access to Information Act, which was received by this office on December 27, 2017 to obtain:

‘I want to know the number of currently valid authorizations to carry for protection of life as described in section 20(a) of the Firearms Act. Broken down by provinces and territories. Please provide the date on which the sample was taken.’

Further consultation was conducted with the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) and they have agreed to release the total number of ATC’s for the protection of life in Canada. CFP advised that there is two ATC’s for the protection of life in Canada.

Please be advised that you are entitled to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner concerning the processing of your request within 60 days after the day that you become aware that grounds for a complaint exist. In the event you decide to avail yourself of this right, your notice of complaint should be addressed to:

Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada

30 Victoria Street, 7th Floor

Gatineau, Quebec K1A 1H3

Should you wish to discuss this matter further, you may contact Sgt. Rick Kushko at 613-843-5201 or [email protected] Please quote the file number appearing on this letter.


Supt. Richard Haye

Access to Information and Privacy Branch

Mailstop #61

73 Leikin Drive

Ottawa, Ontatio, K1A 0R2″

Authorization To Carry (ATC) permits are allowed under the Authorizations to Carry Restricted Firearms and Certain Handgun Regulations corresponding with SOR 98/207 of the Firearms Act:

Circumstances in Which an Individual Needs Restricted Firearms or Prohibited Handguns for the Purpose of Section 20 of the Act

Protection of Life
2 For the purpose of section 20 of the Act, the circumstances in which an individual needs restricted firearms or prohibited handguns to protect the life of that individual or of other individuals are where

(a) the life of that individual, or other individuals, is in imminent danger from one or more other individuals;

(b) police protection is not sufficient in the circumstances; and

(c) the possession of a restricted firearm or prohibited handgun can reasonably be justified for protecting the individual or other individuals from death or grievous bodily harm.

Lawful Profession or Occupation
3 For the purpose of section 20 of the Act, the circumstances in which an individual needs restricted firearms or prohibited handguns for use in connection with his or her lawful profession or occupation are where

(a) the individual’s principal activity is the handling, transportation or protection of cash, negotiable instruments or other goods of substantial value, and firearms are required for the purpose of protecting his or her life or the lives of other individuals in the course of that handling, transportation or protection activity;

(b) the individual is working in a remote wilderness area and firearms are required for the protection of the life of that individual or of other individuals from wild animals; or

(c) the individual is engaged in the occupation of trapping in a province and is licensed or authorized and trained as required by the laws of the province.

Our last ATI on the subject, from 2013, showed 564 non-military and non-police Canadians – so, civilians – were authorized to carry guns, but it appears now with this new information that 99%+ of those were not for defensive scenarios. Those could be individuals who have lawful reasons for carry, usually for work.

RGSL runs Non-Restricted and Restricted gun license safety courses in Regina and Saskatoon. Check out the list of upcoming classes here.