President’s Perspective – Body Armour Control Act

In July 2009, the Ministry of Public Safety and the Solicitor General surveyed groups, police and security personnel on the proposal to regulate the sale, possession and use of body armour in British Columbia. The Body Armour Control Act (BACA) received Royal Assent on October 29, 2009.

The BACA was created to enhance public safety by making it difficult for criminals to legally possess or purchase body armour. Criminals are increasingly using body armour to allow them to engage in firearms-related violence; increasing the risks to the public and police.

Here at the Canada Safety Council we have considerable expertise in injury prevention and in working with government ministries to achieve greater safety for Canadians. We have concerns regarding the BACA, which aims to restrict the sale and possession of body armour garments. Unfortunately, as presented, the proposed regulations would remove the opportunity for tens of thousands of British Columbians to purchase and use these important safety garments. While we strongly support legislation that will improve safety for police officers, these regulations will cast a net so wide that it will restrict protective garments for motorcyclists, ATV riders, dirt bike riders, forestry workers, farm workers and many others.

Synthetic materials such as Kevlar™ and ballistic nylon are widely used in everything from the protective gear used by loggers to thousands of motorcyclists, ATV riders, dirt bike riders and others who wear protective jackets, pants, gloves and helmets while riding. In the case of motorcyclists for example, Kevlar™- reinforced ballistic nylon jackets and pants have become widely accepted as the most user friendly form of protective gear that can be worn while riding a motorcycle. CSC has recommend the use of protective equipment made from these materials for years.

The introduction of these proposed regulations would mean that tens of thousands would be forced to find alternative forms of protection from abrasive or puncture wounds as a result of recreational or justified professional use. Otherwise undergo a criminal record check and pay a permit fee. This is an unnecessary burden to those who are legitimately using these materials solely for safety purposes.

I have long supported personal safety in various sport and work environments. This proposed framework will put people at unnecessary risk of severe injuries and even fatality. I am strongly urging and recommending that the regulations, in their present form, be withdrawn and a much wider consultation with all affected stakeholders is undertaken.

Safety, it is an Attitude

Jack Smith, President