Does Canada Have a Gun Problem?

June 5, 2017

Correction:  The statement at 1:30 in this video should be “… murdered by a firearm when they are just as likely to be injured by lightning.”

In this video Rod Giltaca discusses the statistical reality of the number of Canadians that are licenced to own guns, the number of gun related homicides, and the number of gun related accidental deaths in Canada and touches on how the real numbers are far fewer then often portrayed in the Canadian Media.


Supporting Information

Number of Gun Owners:

The 2015 Commissioner of Firearms Report lists the number of individual licenced gun owners in Canada at 2,026,011 individuals.  The number 2.1 million quoted in the video is a projection based on a continuation of the historical increase since the last published data at the end of 2015.

The full report can be found here.  2015 Commissioner of Firearms Report

Dr. Gary A. Mauser is a Canadian criminologist and emeritus professor in the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University.  He has done extensive research into gun control and firearms law in Canada.  The actual number of gun owners in Canada is impossible to know, however his best estimate of the number of Canadians in peaceful possession of firearms in Canada is approximately 3 million.


Number of Homicides:

Statistics Canada tracks annual homicides by method in Canada.  A summery of their data is below showing rates between 2011 and 2015:

Homicides by method
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
All methods 605 548 509 521 604
Shooting 159 171 134 155 178
Stabbing 207 164 195 189 214
Beating 128 115 102 100 132
Strangulation 40 44 45 32 38
Fire (burns/suffocation) 22 17 5 7 8
Other methods1 33 21 18 23 14
Not known 16 16 10 15 20
Homicide includes Criminal Code offences of murder, manslaughter and infanticide.
If multiple methods against one victim are used, only the leading method causing the death is counted. Thus, only one method is scored per victim.
1. Other methods include poisoning, exposure, shaken baby syndrome, deaths caused by vehicles and heart attacks.
Source: Statistics Canada, CANSIM, table 253-0002 and Homicide Survey, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.
Last modified: 2016-11-23.


Lightning statistics:

Environment Canada tracks lightning related injuries and deaths in Canada.  Detailed statistics for the years  1986 – 2005 can be found here.  https://www.ec.gc.ca/foudre-lightning/default.asp?lang=En&n=5D5FB4F8-1


Deaths and Medical Deaths:

Statistics Canada tracks annual deaths in Canada.  Below is a summary of their data on total deaths between 2011 and 2016.

Deaths, estimates, by province and territory
  2011/2012 2012/2013 2013/2014 2014/2015 2015/2016
Canada 241,500 250,407 254,855 266,164 269,012
Newfoundland and Labrador 4,634 4,701 4,821 4,943 5,069
Prince Edward Island 1,247 1,245 1,271 1,296 1,321
Nova Scotia 8,349 8,509 8,684 8,854 9,036
New Brunswick 6,332 6,536 6,708 6,870 7,036
Quebec 58,941 61,642 60,850 65,550 62,650
Ontario 88,466 92,472 95,894 99,231 102,701
Manitoba 10,086 10,158 10,338 10,503 10,676
Saskatchewan 9,095 9,265 9,381 9,482 9,577
Alberta 21,531 22,441 23,321 24,164 24,980
British Columbia 32,253 32,859 32,989 34,652 35,325
Yukon 215 211 217 226 234
Northwest Territories 189 205 213 222 233
Nunavut 162 163 168 171 174
Period from July 1 to June 30.
The numbers for deaths are final up to 2012/2013, updated for 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 and preliminary for 2015/2016.
Preliminary and updated estimates of deaths were produced by Demography Division, Statistics Canada. Final data were produced by Health Statistics Division, Statistics Canada. However, the final estimates included in this table may differ from the data released by the Health Statistics Division, due to distribution of unknown province.
Source: Statistics Canada, CANSIM, table 051-0004 and Catalogue no. 91-215-X.
Last modified: 2016-09-28.


The Globe and Mail published a story in June 2016 estimating the number of deaths due to preventable medical errors to be up to 24,000 per year.  Other stories published in previous years estimate that number might be even higher.  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/toronto-hospitals-embark-on-safety-initiative-to-prevent-medical-error-deaths/article30610569/



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