Alberta's body armour legislation is designed to help make Alberta’s communities safer and help police forces in their efforts to reduce gang violence across the province. The legislation ensures only those with a legitimate reason to do so or who have obtained a permit through Justice and Solicitor General can wear body armour.
Gang related crime is a serious issue in Alberta. Gang members often wear bullet resistant vests (body armour) when they engage in various forms of criminal activity, including drug trafficking and drive-by shootings. Some will even wear body armour while in public, which can be intimidating.
Body armour legislation was passed under the Body Armour Control Act, 2010 and came into force June 15, 2012. Albertans had a six month compliance period and now must adhere to the new rules.
Under the rules:
- body armour vendors may only sell to those who present a valid permit or have proof that an exemption applies; and,
- those found in possession of body armour without a permit or who are not exempt may face a fine of up to $10,000 or six months in prison, or both.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Body Armour Control Act?
The Act prohibits the possession and use of body armour, unless a person has a permit or is exempt from needing a permit.
- When does the Act come into force?
The Act was proclaimed into force on June 15, 2012. Albertans had until December 15, 2012 to come into line with the new legislation, and now must adhere to the new rules.
Who needs a permit?
A sample body armour permit card
Any person who is not exempted and wishes to own body armour must apply for a permit. To obtain a permit, a person must demonstrate a legitimate occupational or personal need and pass a criminal background assessment.
- Are some types of body armour exempted?
Yes. Safety equipment, historical or reproductions are exempted as follows:
Are some individuals exempted from the Act?
- Safety equipment designed, intended for use, and worn by an individual, for sports or recreational purposes
- Safety equipment or personal protective equipment designed, intended for use, and worn by an individual, to protect an individual from injury in the course of the individual’s employment, and required by an OHS code within the meaning of the Occupational Health and Safety Act
- Medieval or historical personal armour or a reproduction of medieval or historical personal armour that is:
- intended for use at a historical re‑enactment or a sporting event in which such equipment is required;
- on display for viewing purposes;
- for sale to museums and collectors;
- in the possession of an individual, organization or business for research or restoration;
- intended and used for collection, display, costuming or decoration; or
- considered to be a historic object, as defined in the Historical Resources Act, and collected and stored by a museum.
Yes. Any person or any occupation with a legitimate need for body armour is exempt from the Act. The following persons are exempt while performing duties within the scope of their employment:
How can I get a permit?
- Police officers
- Peace officers
- Ambulance attendants
- Wildlife or conservation officers
- Individual holding a valid license under the Security Services and Investigators Act (i.e., security guard, investigator, loss prevention worker, bodyguard)
- Individuals holding a valid licence under the Firearms Act (Canada);
- Gaming and Liquor Act inspectors
- Business owners, or employees of a business, who in the ordinary course of that business or employment purchases, sells, transports or otherwise deals with body armour;
- Public officers as defined in section 117.07 of the Criminal Code (Canada);
- Individuals or museums who are collectors of medieval or historical armour or reproductions of medieval or historical armour;
- Manufacturers of reproductions of medieval or historical armour;
- Individuals involved in farming or ranching operations, while engaged in farming or ranching operations;
- Individuals performing in an exhibition, stampede, rodeo, fair or sporting event.
Albertans must apply through the Alberta Justice and Solicitor General registrar office. Application forms, including instructions, are available online in the Forms and Documents section above.
What does a permit cost?
$50.00 for a one-year permit (after which time it would have to be renewed).
$100.00 for a two-year permit (after which time it would have to be renewed).
Do I need to tell the registrar about the types of body amour I own?
No. The intent of this program is to issue permits to law abiding and responsible people. This program is not intended to track the personal body armour these people own.
What happens if I am caught with body armour and don’t have a permit?
You may be charged with an offence and the body armour seized. The penalty is a fine of up to $10,000 or six months in prison, or both.
How are businesses who sell body armour affected?
Starting June 15, 2012, it is an offence for an individual, business owner or employee of a business to sell body armour to a person who does not have a permit or cannot suitably demonstrate they are exempt from the Act. If an individual, business owner or employee of a business is found to be selling body armour to individuals who do not have a permit, they may be charged and face a fine of up to $10,000 or six months in prison, or both.
Are businesses required to keep records of who they sell body armour to?
If I don’t want a permit and want to get rid of my body armour what do I do?
What occupational or personal needs may qualify for a permit?
- You can sell or give the armour to someone with a permit or who is exempt;
- You may contact your local police service to determine if they will take it for you.
Each application will be judged on its own merits and circumstances. Some non-exhaustive examples that may qualify are:
If the registrar denies a permit can I appeal?
- Bouncers in licensed establishments,
- At-risk justice officials,
- A person who the police formally identify, in writing, as being at risk of harm.
Yes. The registrar’s decision to deny a permit is appealable to the director of law enforcement, as defined in the Police Act.
Can I lend my body armour to somebody else?
No. Only a person exempt from the Act or holding a valid permit may possess or wear body armor.
What can I do if my life is in danger and I can’t get a permit quickly?
Contact your local police service.