Knife related laws in Canada
As of right now the main restrictions on the types of knives
in Canada are listed in Section III of
"prohibited weapon" means
(a) a knife that has a blade that opens automatically by gravity or
centrifugal force or by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or
other device in or attached to the handle of the knife
This bans switchblades and knives that you can flip open ie.
swinging/snapping the knife in a circular motion.
Note one handed opening via holes in the blade, disks, studs etc.,
are not illegal.
Law enforcement officers and many other types of civil employees,
firemen etc. are not bound by this.
There are no federal laws about about the lengths of knives allowed. As
far as I know, no provinces have specific legislation about knife lengths
either. However there are many informal "blade length rules" in Canada.
These vary from 3" to 4" for folders in various areas around the country
depending on what differentiates a pocket knife from a fighting knife to the
One other important bit of information is that there are no federal laws
about knife materials, this means that non-magnetic knives are legal for
possession and carry. As well there are no formal laws on serrations, or
dual edged blades, however these are much more likely to catch the attention
of a police officer, or security say at an airport.
Besides the restrictions on opening mechanism there are two additional
policies you need to be aware of. The first is concealment, technically its
not allowed at all, even a SAK can get you in trouble, ie.
90. (1) Every person commits an offence
who carries a weapon, a prohibited device or
any prohibited ammunition concealed, unless
the person is authorised under the Firearms
Act to carry it concealed.
You can get a concealed carry permit (talk to the local constabulary) but
its very difficult. However, a friend of mine has been carring a SAK in his back pocket for
15 years without one incident, including going though various airports.
This is mainly because of the second and most general rule : most police
officers will OK any knife they regard as a "tool", but if they feel in any
way that it's for "fighting" they'll take it off you and you can get charged
for possessing a dangerous weapon. What this means is that is you ever get
asked "why you are carrying that?", never ever say "For self-defence", say
its for cutting boxes, rope, tubing, food etc.
This probably comes from this section of C68
(1) Subject to subsection (2),
the Governor in Council may make regulations
prescribing anything that by this Part is to
be or may be prescribed.
(2) In making regulations, the Governor
in Council may not prescribe any thing to be
a prohibited firearm, a restricted firearm, a
prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a
prohibited device or prohibited ammunition
if, in the opinion of the Governor in
Council, the thing to be prescribed is
reasonable for use in Canada for hunting or
Along those lines anything consider to be intended to be used as a weapon
can get you into trouble, for example all of the following are banned in
- "nunchaku" and any similar instrument or device, being hard non-flexible
sticks, clubs, pipes or rods linked by a length or lengths of rope, cord,
wire or chain; foam and plastic are legal;
- "shuriken", being a hard non-flexible plate having three or more radiating
points with one or more sharp edges in the shape of a polygon, trefoil,
cross, star, diamond or other geometric shape;
- "manrikigusari" or "kusari", and any similar instrument or device,
being hexagonal or other geometrically shaped hard weights or hand
grips linked by a length or lengths of rope, cord, wire or chain;
- any finger ring that has one or more blades or sharp objects that are
capable of being projected from the surface of the ring.
- "crossbow", with a stock of 400 mm or less
- "Constant Companion", being a belt containing a blade capable of being
withdrawn from the belt, with the buckle of the belt forming a handle for
- any knife commonly known as a "push-dagger" that is designed in such a
fashion that the handle is placed perpendicular to the main cutting edge of
the blade; and any other similar device but not including the aboriginal
- "Spiked Wristband", being a wristband to which a spike or blade is affixed;
and any other similar device
- "Yaqua Blowgun", being a tube or pipe designed for the purpose of shooting
arrows or darts by the breath; and any other similar device
- "Kiyoga Baton" or "Steel Cobra" and any similar device consisting of a
manually-triggered telescoping spring-loaded steel whip terminated in a
heavy calibre striking tip;
- "Morning Star" and any similar device consisting of a ball of metal or other
heavy material, studded with spikes and connected to a handle by a length of
chain, rope or other flexible material.
- "Brass Knuckles" and any similar device consisting of a band of metal with
finger holes designed to fit over the root knuckles of the hand.
- Any device designed to be used for the purpose of injuring, immobilising or
otherwise incapacitating any person by the discharge therefrom of
- (a) tear gas, Mace or other gas, or
- (b) any liquid, spray, powder or other substance that is capable of
injuring, immobilising or otherwise incapacitating any person,
Last updated :
Thu Mar 25 08:51:19 NST 1999
To view a copy of Memorandum D19-13-2 click the link below.