If you have applied for a FAC and been refused you have thirty days to require a hearing before a judge of the Provincial Court to review the decision of the local firearms officer.
At the hearing, which is a reference, the standard rules of evidence are relaxed. The purpose of the hearing is to review the decision of the firearms officer based on the criteria set out in the Criminal Code of Canada. The onus to prove entitlement to a FAC is upon you the applicant. This means that because the firearms officer has decided you should not have a FAC, there is a negative presumption that you must overcome.
Some of the hurdles that can prevent you from obtaining a FAC is to have old criminal convictions to which you have been entitled to obtain a pardon for but you have not obtained a pardon. You may have plead guilty to a minor offense of unsafe storage as part of a Adeal@ on a prior matter. That will be a large hurdle to overcome.
After the hearing, the court cannot make an order prohibiting you from owning firearms unless a prior notice has been given for that particular purpose.
A surprising procedure is that once the judge has made a decision confirming the opinion of the firearms officer you have no further appeal. You are at the end of you rights. This is because if the judge disagrees with the firearms officer and decides that you shall have a FAC the crown can appeal that decision.
The FAC review hearing before a provincial court judge becomes a very significant event in the determination of your right to acquire firearms. In the future as the FAC is replaced by a Firearms Possession Certificate the repercussions of a failed FAC hearing become more serious.
The FAC review hearing is no place for amateurs to experiment with your rights. The best representation by an expert lawyer is the best step to achieving success of issuance of your FAC. Maintain your right to bear arms.
EDWARD L. BURLEW, LL.B.
Barrister and Solicitor
16 John Street
Thornhill, Ontario L3T 1X8
Information in this advisory is general in nature and should not be acted upon without specific professional advice.