As a country, we know that one life taken by gun violence is one too many. Everyone in Canada deserves to feel safe in their community.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that the first Friday of June each year will be proclaimed the National Day Against Gun Violence. Beginning this June 2, this day will honour the victims of gun violence, bring awareness to the crisis in our country, and encourage Canadians to come together to find solutions.
The announcement was made at the Toronto Raptors’ practice facility, where the Prime Minister was joined by Raptors Vice-Chairman and Team President Masai Ujiri, anti-gun violence community groups, and civic leaders. The Raptors played a critical role in rallying nearly 30,000 Canadians to sign a petition to observe this day.
The National Day Against Gun Violence will be a day of solemn remembrance for the victims of this senseless violence in Canada, and a time to pay tribute to their families and loved ones who live with pain that will never truly go away. It will be a day to recommit to doing better – for those families, and for every Canadian. And it will be a time to envision a better future, where everyone can feel safe in their community.
The Government of Canada has already taken significant action to help keep Canadians safe from gun violence. We banned 1,500 models of assault-style firearms and their variants. We introduced Bill C-21, Canada’s toughest gun control laws in a generation, to combat organized crime, address the alarming role of guns in gender-based violence, and prohibit the sale, purchase, and transfer of handguns. We are also taking preventative action, through the Building Safer Communities Fund, to stop gun violence before it starts by investing in community-led projects to empower young people to make good decisions. And we are securing our borders through investments of nearly half a billion dollars over the past two years and increased cooperation with the United States to stop gun smuggling.
Across the country, gun violence has tragically scarred our communities. Now, every year on the National Day Against Gun Violence, we will recommit to a better future free from gun violence.
“Gun violence is a real and serious threat. The annual National Day Against Gun Violence will serve as a solemn reminder of the lives lost, of the families who live with the ongoing pain, and of our collective responsibility to do everything we can to prevent these senseless tragedies by putting an end to gun violence.”
“We owe it to every Canadian who’s lost a loved one to gun violence to do our utmost to prevent the next tragedy. The new National Day Against Gun Violence will help spur action in communities nationwide. I look forward to a national discussion about the impact of gun violence, and how we can all work together to prevent it.”
“By pausing on the first Friday in June to remember those whose lives and families have been destroyed by gun violence, we are taking the first step to solving a problem, which is acknowledging it exists. This day is really a result of the work of community members who have been affected by gun violence. It’s mothers, teachers, friends. We’re grateful to them for raising their voices, and to our federal leaders for hearing them.”
- As a symbol of peace and ceasefire, Canadians are asked to wear white on National Day Against Gun Violence.
- Gun violence is on the rise. One in three homicides in Canada is related to firearms, and Canada has witnessed an over 80 per cent rise in violent crimes involving guns since 2009.
- Since 2016, the federal government has invested more than $1.3 billion to address gun violence and keep guns out of the hands of gangs and criminals. This includes a commitment of $827.6 million over ten years through the Initiative to Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence, $250 million over five years through the Building Safer Communities Fund, and $312 million over five years to enhance Canada’s firearm control framework.
- Introduced in 2022, Bill C-21 represents the most significant changes to gun control legislation in more than 40 years. It introduces a national freeze on the sale, purchase, and transfer of handguns into law. This national freeze took effect via regulations on October 21, 2022. The Bill also includes significant measures to:
- address the alarming role of guns in gender-based violence through red and yellow flag laws;
- strengthen border controls by increasing maximum penalties for gun traffickers;
- create authorities to combat firearms smuggling, trafficking, and related offences;
- establish new firearm-related offences and strengthened penalties; and
- address the growing threat of illegally manufactured firearms – otherwise known as “ghost guns.”
- In 2020, the Government of Canada prohibited over 1,500 models of assault-style firearms and their variants through regulations. That number has since increased to approximately 2,000 due to new firearms models introduced by manufacturers since the 2020 ban, as well as the addition of variants to the list.
- On March 30, 2023, the Mass Casualty Commission released its final report, “Turning the Tide Together”. The Commission was a joint Canada-Nova Scotia supported public inquiry created to examine the mass casualty of April 18-19, 2020, in Nova Scotia. The final report provides findings to help make communities safer in the future, including recommendations regarding access to firearms, and noting the connection to gender-based and intimate partner violence.