Ottawa seeks new supplier to notify gun licence holders renewal fee is due

The Harper government is seeking a new supplier to send out hundreds of thousands of gun licence renewal applications and reminders to firearms owners.

OTTAWA — The Harper government is seeking a new supplier to send out hundreds of thousands of gun licence renewal applications and reminders to firearms owners.

The Conservatives announced in mid-April that Ottawa will be collecting about $18 million annually in new revenue from gun owners as it phases out a long-standing waiver on licence renewal fees.

Now the RCMP’s Canada Firearms Program, through Public Works, is seeking competitive bids for a massive printing and direct mail-out contract designed to reach 300,000 individual firearms licence holders a year.

The RCMP, which since 2011 has had to clear its media communications through the public safety minister’s office, did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Public Works said the current six-year, $5.1 million contract expires at the end of August and “this solicitation will result in a new contract to replace the current one.”

A statement of work posted late last week says the contractor will work with “the fully automated information system that provides administrative and enforcement support to all partners involved in licensing of firearms owners/users, registration of firearms and the issuance of authorizations.”

The winning bidder for the three-year contract (which includes options for two more years) must pass thorough criminal security checks.

No contract value was attached to the request for bids but the statement of work notes that government-paid postage alone will cost $600,000 annually.

The Conservatives legislated the long-gun registry out of existence last year in all parts of the country except Quebec, where a court has kept the registry alive, but firearms licensing was not eliminated with the registry.

Last September, Ottawa began eliminating the waiver on $80 licence fees for restricted and prohibited weapons.

And on April 13 the government quietly posted notice that the $60 licence fee for non-restricted weapons also will return in September. That fee had been waived for the last seven years.

The contract specifications state that the government needs some 300,000 “pre-populated” licence renewal forms sent out to individuals each year and 130,000 licence renewal reminder notices. “Pre-populated” means the forms will be sent with the licence holder’s personal information already filled in.

The contract also says about 90,000 firearm registration certificate sheets will also be mailed each year for weapons such as handguns and prohibited weapons that must still be registered.

Conservatives claimed for a decade that the long gun registry imposed by the Liberal government in 1995 had cost Canadians as much as $2 billion.

“I don’t know who’s right on that, but certainly it’s north of $1 billion,” Public Safety Minister Vic Toews told a parliamentary committee last year.

The government’s own internal figures estimated that eliminating the registry would save only about $2 million a year — a figure Toews has never publicly acknowledged.

According to figures posted in the Canada Gazette, ending the firearms licence fee waiver will bring in $18 million annually in new revenue.

That still won’t come close to running the firearms licensing system on a cost-recovery basis.

An examination of RCMP annual reports by The Canadian Press revealed that in the Conservative government’s first full five years, gun registration — including long guns, handguns, restricted and prohibited weapons — cost a total of $48.7 million while “licensing and supporting infrastructure” cost $259.2 million, more than five times firearms registration.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Royal Canadian Legion expels members for wearing unearned military commendations

OTTAWA — The Royal Canadian Legion says it has taken a landmark… Continue reading

China, Russia under pressure from Myanmar Rohingya genocide ruling: Bob Rae

OTTAWA — China and Russia face pressure to prevent genocide in Myanmar… Continue reading

China locking down cities with 18 million to stop virus

BEIJING — Chinese authorities Thursday moved to lock down at least three… Continue reading

‘Bogus’ Ukraine theory led to Trump’s abuse, Dems tell trial

WASHINGTON — Democratic House prosecutors argued in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Jan. 22 Downtown House Senior Center (5414 43 St.) in Red Deer… Continue reading

David Marsden: Drug addicts deserve our care

The provincial government, rather than seizing an opportunity, is flirting with putting… Continue reading

A look at Canada’s seven NHL teams heading into the all-star break

When the NHL returns from its bye weeks and all-star break, there… Continue reading

Canada stamps honour on pre-NHL all-black hockey league

CHERRY BROOK, N.S. — Canada is paying tribute to an all-black hockey… Continue reading

Toronto Argonauts, Saskatchewan Roughriders to square off in Halifax

HALIFAX — Brett Lauther will be returning home this summer. The CFL… Continue reading

Royal Canadian Legion expels members for wearing unearned military commendations

OTTAWA — The Royal Canadian Legion says it has taken a landmark… Continue reading

China, Russia under pressure from Myanmar Rohingya genocide ruling: Bob Rae

OTTAWA — China and Russia face pressure to prevent genocide in Myanmar… Continue reading

China locking down cities with 18 million to stop virus

BEIJING — Chinese authorities Thursday moved to lock down at least three… Continue reading

Most Read