If you apply for a firearms license, attempt to renew your license and are refused (or if your licence is revoked), you have the right under s. 74 of the Firearms Act, within 30 days, to refer the matter before a Provincial Court judge and to schedule what is called a Reference to a judge to argue the decision.
This proceeds similarly to the Firearms Hearing (in the previous section) where the Crown seeks to take away your firearms or license, except here you bear the onus to show why the denial was unjustified. In other words, at the hearing of the Reference, the burden of proof is on the applicant or holder to satisfy the provincial court judge that the refusal to issue or revocation of the licence, registration certificate or authorization, the decision or the refusal to approve or revocation of the approval was not justified.
On the hearing of a reference, the Provincial Court judge may, by order:
- Confirm the decision of the chief firearms officer, Registrar or provincial minister;
- Direct the chief firearms officer or Registrar to issue a licence, firearms registration certificate or authorization or direct the provincial minister to approve a shooting club or shooting range; or
- Cancel the revocation of the licence, registration certificate, authorization or approval or the decision of the chief firearms officer under section 67.
This decision of the Provincial Court may be appealed, by you or the Attorney General, to the Superior Court of Justice.
On the hearing of an appeal, the Superior Court may:
(a) dismiss the appeal; or
(b) allow the appeal and, in the case of an appeal against an order made under paragraph 76(a),
(i) direct the chief firearms officer or Registrar to issue a licence, registration certificate or authorization, or
(ii) cancel the revocation of the licence, registration certificate, authorization or approval or the decision of the chief firearms officer under section 67.
This decision of the Superior Court of Justice may be appealed, by you or the Attorney General, to Ontario Court of Appeal on any ground that involves a question of law alone.
Like appealing a Reference under the Firearms Act, ss. 117.05(7)-(9) of the Code provide guidance for Firearms Hearings triggered by s. 117 of the Code as discussed above.
This article is not meant to be an exhaustive legal guide to Firearms Hearings and Prohibition Orders in Canada, but rather a general overview into the acts governing them and a sliver of the common law that interprets and applies the acts.
The odds of success with any responding to any firearms charge, hearing, or reference are much higher with the insight and guidance of experienced counsel. If the Crown is seeking jail time, you need your weapons for your employment, hunting, or home security, or you just don’t want to lose your expensive collection or firearms – then it is strongly suggested that you retain competent legal counsel.
The lawyers in our firm offer experienced legal representation for serious gun law offences, firearms hearings, or firearms References. You can reach us 24 hours a day by calling (416) 999-9389 or complete a consultation form here.