Type of document: Prosecution Directive
Effective date: November 14, 2017

The Criminal Code prohibits the possession of certain weapons including firearms that are so inherently dangerous that their prohibition is mandatory and absolute. In addition to this general prohibition, the Criminal Code authorizes a court to specifically prohibit a person from possessing certain identifiable weapons, in certain circumstances. The Prosecutor should seek the imposition of terms and conditions necessary to protect public safety.

Reference should be made to the Firearms and Criminal Asset Forfeiture Directives.

Judicial interim release (bail)

A weapons prohibition may be imposed as a condition of a judicial interim release. The Criminal Code directs that in certain circumstances the court shall prohibit the accused from possessing any weapons while on a release order unless the court considers the condition is not required in the interests of the safety of the accused, the victim or the public. This is a presumptively mandatory condition and where it is not imposed, the Prosecutor must remind the court of its obligation in these circumstances to provide reasons for not adding the condition.

In any case where there is a concern for the safety and security of the victim or of any other person or the public, the Prosecutor must seek a condition prohibiting the accused from possessing any weapons.

Reference should be made to the Judicial Interim Release (Bail) Directive.

Section 810 recognizances (“Peace Bonds”)

The Prosecutor should determine whether the public interest requires the imposition of a separate weapons prohibition in addition to the conditions outlined in the section 810 recognizance.


Mandatory orders

The Criminal Code directs that the court shall make a mandatory prohibition order for an adult sentenced or discharged of certain offences. In these circumstances, the Prosecutor must remind the court of its obligation to make the order.

Discretionary orders

The Criminal Code directs that for some offences the imposition of a weapons prohibition order is discretionary. In these circumstances, the court shall consider if it is desirable in the interests of the safety of the accused or any other person to make a prohibition order. The Prosecutor must seek a discretionary prohibition order where concerns exist regarding the safety of the victim or the public.

Conditional sentence and probation orders

The Criminal Code directs that the court may make a condition prohibiting the possession of weapons in a conditional sentence or probation order. Prosecutors should also consider requesting a stand-alone prohibition order.

Exemptions to prohibition orders

The Criminal Code permits a court to vary a prohibition order where appropriate for employment or sustenance hunting. The offender who applies for this exemption is required to establish on a balance of probabilities that the weapons are necessary for one of these purposes.

The Prosecutor should request a police investigation of applications for exemption to weapons prohibition orders. The Prosecutor should consider the fruits of the investigation and all relevant circumstances in arriving at a position on the application. Ultimately, the court is required to consider the offender’s application and criminal record, the circumstances of the offence and the safety of the public or any person.

Forfeiture or return of weapons

Upon the conclusion of a criminal case, property (including firearms, weapons or ammunition) may be returned to its lawful owner or be forfeited. The Prosecutor must seek the disposal of weapons, either by an order of forfeiture (and eventual destruction) or lawful return, to the appropriate person. If forfeiture or return of property is not addressed at the conclusion of the proceedings, the Prosecutor must seek an order to dispose of the weapons as soon as practicable.

Preventive prohibition orders

The Criminal Code allows a provincial court judge to issue a preventive weapons prohibition order where evidence discloses reasonable grounds to believe that public safety requires that a person should be prohibited from possessing firearms, other weapons or ammunition. The provincial court judge may issue the prohibition order whether or not an offence has been committed and whether or not the person currently possesses firearms, other weapons or ammunition.

Applications for preventive prohibition orders may be commenced by a peace officer, firearms officer or Chief Firearms Officer. The Prosecutor must assume carriage of these applications.