Understanding The Aboriginal Peoples of Canada
This is the third in a series of special bulletins that explain the Firearms Act and how it affects Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. Designed to improve public safety, the Firearms Act is being phased in between December 1, 1998 and January 1, 2003.
The Aboriginal Peoples of Canada Adaptations Regulations
On December 1, 1998, the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada Adaptations Regulations came into effect to ensure that the new gun law meets the special and unique circumstances of Inuit, Métis and First Nations Peoples in Canada. These regulations adapt the Firearms Act for Aboriginal gun users who have traditional hunting lifestyles.
While the licensing and registration provisions of the Firearms Act apply to everyone who uses firearms, the steps you must take to meet these requirements will be different if you are applying under the Aboriginal Adaptations Regulations.
It’s Your Choice
Very early in the process of completing your licence application form, you will be asked to answer “yes” or “no” to the following question: “Are you applying under the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada Adaptations Regulations (Firearms)?”
As an Aboriginal person, you do not have to apply for your firearms licence under the Aboriginal Adaptations Regulations. You have a choice, depending on your particular needs and circumstances. In most cases, these regulations will not be needed, however, in some cases, they may help you get your firearms licence.
How Will I Know?
The chart below sets out the general requirements for getting a firearms licence, and how these requirements are adapted by the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada Adaptations Regulations.
Aboriginal Adaptations Regulations
|Language-literacy||Various written statements are required for each type of licence (possession-only, possession and acquisition, and minor’s possession). These statements must be written in English or French.||If you, or any other Aboriginal person making a statement on your behalf, cannot write in English or French, then it can be made orally or with the help of an interpreter to a firearms officer.|
|Shared use of firearms (possession-only licence)||The applicant must own at least one firearm on December 1, 1998 to apply for a possession-only licence.||Ownership is not required for Aboriginal applicants. A possession-only licence will allow you to continue to use, without supervision, firearms belonging to others which you had the use of on December 1, 1998.|
|Safety training||Adult applicants for a possession and acquisition licence must pass the Canadian Firearms Safety Course (CFSC) test. All applicants for a minor’s possession licence (except for minor sustenance hunters) must take the CFSC and pass the test.||Under certain circumstances, as an Aboriginal adult or minor, you may be alternatively certified as long as you can show that you know:
|Minor’s Possession Licence||Non-Aboriginal youths must be at least 12 years old to apply for this licence.||Aboriginal children under 12 years of age who practice traditional hunting can apply for a minor’s possession licence.|
|Background safety checks||All licence applicants must successfully pass a background safety check before a firearms licence is issued. This includes a criminal record review, and screening for a history of violent behaviour (not limited to gun use), in the last five years.||If you are concerned about the outcome of your background safety check, this adaptation gives you a chance to send in your Elder’s or another community leader’s recommendation in support of your licence application. Any recommendations received must be considered before a final decision is made about your licence.|
If you meet the general requirements set out above, then answer “no” to the question about the Aboriginal Adaptations Regulations on the licence application form. However, if you do not meet the general requirements, and wish to apply under the Aboriginal Adaptations Regulations, then check the “yes” box on the form.
A “yes” answer will require you to identify which of the above Adaptations Regulations you want to apply for. You must also provide a declaration, confirmed by an Elder or another leader of your community, stating that you:
- are a member of one of the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada (First Nations, Inuit or Métis, or a beneficiary under a land claims agreement referred to in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982);
- are a member of an Aboriginal community; and
- take part in the traditional hunting practices of your community.
This information can be sent on form “Schedule A – Declaration and Confirmation” (Form # JUS 794), however, you can send it to us in any format (e.g. a letter) provided it is complete.
Other schedules will be sent to you later if you are applying for alternative safety training certification or wish to submit recommendations supporting your licence application.
Application forms are also available at post offices or by calling 1 800 731-4000. If you have any questions, please call our toll-free number. Our operators are trained to answer questions about the law and about filling out the forms
Please contact Chief Richard Zohr To See About Getting An Alternate Safety Form for aboriginals.