Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Trudeau government’s gun buyback program hit another roadblock as Canada Post has refused to take up the task of collecting the firearms prohibited by the Liberals’ sweeping ban in 2020.

Government sources told Radio-Canada that the feds expected Canada Post to be involved in the collection of the 144,000 now-banned “assault” and “military-style” firearms, as the crown corporation is already responsible for delivering guns purchased by Canadians online. 

However, Canada Post is declining to do so, saying in a recent letter to Ottawa that it is concerned for the safety of its employees, who would have to be the ones out knocking on doors. 

Canada Post is worried about potential conflicts between staff and gun owners who are frustrated with the confiscation of something they purchased and owned legally. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised the implementation of a buyback program in both the 2019 and 2021 elections. The deadline has been extended twice. The Liberals now hope to finalize the program before the next general election, scheduled for October 2025. 

Federal officials said that Canada Post would be the “least costly” and “most efficient” avenue to recover banned weapons. 

The Trudeau government wants the owners of banned guns to secure them in government-issued boxes unloaded, to be sent back to the government for disposal, at which point the owners would be financially compensated for the cost of the firearm.

While government discussions with Canada Post remain ongoing, the sources say that the government is confused by the postal services’ apprehension surrounding the task.  

“It’s a challenge, but we do not think this jeopardizes our timetable or the government’s desire to move forward,” one federal source told CBC. “We want the discussions to continue.”

Alberta is requiring a provincial licence for any individual or organization employed in firearm seizure within the province, a policy included in the UCP government’s Bill 8, the Alberta Firearms Act. 

It’s a licence that is very unlikely to be issued, according to statements from Alberta Justice Minister Tyler Shandro as the Alberta government pushes back against the Liberals’ firearm legislation.

“We disagree with the confiscation program, so we don’t think that there should be anyone involved in being engaged as a seizure agent for the confiscation program,” said Shandro during a press conference last year.

Under Ottawa’s so-called buyback program, over 1,500 models of firearms were banned by order-in-council, with the government initially granting amnesty to gun owners until May 1, 2022, a date which has since been extended to October 2025. 

The program has already cost the federal government $42 million without any firearms having been confiscated yet and certain estimates project the total cost of the program will surpass $1 billion.  

Ottawa tasked the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association with helping them to retrieve banned firearms from retailers. However, the CSAAA has been critical of the Liberals’ firearms knowledge, calling it limited in scope, adding further complexity to the already difficult task.

“You’re banning a style of firearm, so there’s no mechanical definition for what is prohibited. Therefore it’s an arbitrary decision by a panel of people, making it very difficult for us as an industry to know what is and what is not going to be prohibited,” CSAAA president Wes Winkel told True North.

“It’s all political posturing, that’s all it is, we know that as an industry. We’ve been a pawn in the politics game for a long time and it’s frustrating for those of us in business trying to keep people employed and trying to make a living,” he added.