Yes. Carrying a knife in Canada is generally legal, but there are several important caveats:


  1. Intended Use: You can carry a knife as long as you have a legitimate purpose for doing so, such as fishing, hunting, or work-related usage. However, carrying a knife for self-defence against humans could be considered an intent to harm, which is illegal.
  2. Type of Knife: Some types of knives are considered prohibited weapons in Canada. These include automatic knives (switchblades), centrifugal knives (knives that open by centrifugal force), gravity knives, and concealed blades (like knife combs). Butterfly knives and brass knuckle knives are also prohibited.
  3. Location Restrictions: Even if you’re carrying a knife for a legitimate purpose, some locations like schools, government buildings, and airports have restrictions against carrying any kind of weapon, including knives.
  4. Length: Although there is no specific blade length specified in Canadian federal law, individual provinces, territories, and even municipalities may have their own rules. Generally, shorter blades are less likely to be considered weapons, but this is not a hard and fast rule.
  5. Criminal Record: If you have a criminal record, additional restrictions may apply to you.
  6. Transport: The manner in which you carry the knife can also be subject to legal interpretation. Carrying it openly might be treated differently than carrying it concealed.

If you are stopped by the police and found to be carrying a knife, the circumstances will likely be evaluated for intent, type of knife, and location. Violations can result in seizure of the knife, criminal charges, or both.

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The Comprehensive Guide to Knife Laws in Canada

As an essential item for various activities ranging from cooking to camping, knives are prevalent in our everyday lives. However, the regulations surrounding their usage, particularly the legalities tied to carrying them in public spaces in Canada, are quite intricate. This article will delve into the labyrinth of Canadian knife laws, aiming to elucidate the legalities surrounding different types of knives, and how to lawfully possess and use them.

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Understanding Knife Laws in Canada: A General Overview

The federal government of Canada has imposed explicit rules governing the possession, sale, and use of knives. These regulations are designed to prevent misuse and ensure public safety. It’s crucial to understand that the legality of a knife in Canada isn’t determined solely by its type, but also by its usage and the intent behind carrying it.

Classification of Knives in Canada

In Canada, knives are broadly categorized into three types: pocket knives, fixed-blade knives, and switchblades.

Pocket Knives

Pocket knives, as their name suggests, are compact and designed for easy portability. Their blade length typically does not exceed 4 inches (10.16 cm), making them the most common type of knife allowed in public spaces across Canada.

Fixed-Blade Knives

Fixed-blade knives, on the other hand, feature a blade that remains in a fixed position. These knives may be attached to a handle or a belt, and though they are legal, their public carry may be subject to additional restrictions.


Switchblades, also known as automatic knives, are equipped with a spring mechanism that enables rapid blade deployment. Canadian law strictly prohibits the possession and use of switchblades.

Legal Knives in Canada: A Closer Look

While Canada’s knife laws are stringent, they do permit the possession and use of certain types of knives.

Utility Knives

Utility knives, which include pocket knives, are legal in Canada. However, their blade length, style, and material can vary from one province to another.

Swiss Army Knives

Swiss army knives are also permitted in Canada without any restrictions. Many other countries also allow these types of knives.

Belt-Buckle Knives

The Canadian Association for Firearms and Hunting (CAF&H) has recently introduced new regulations for the use of knife blades with belt-buckles. These new rules permit a 4-inch blade with a belt-buckle to be worn inside a coat or jacket.

Non-Locking Swiss Army Knives

Non-locking Swiss army knives are also allowed in Canada.

Prohibited Knives in Canada: What You Cannot Carry

As much as Canadian laws allow certain types of knives, there are also other types of knives that are considered dangerous and are illegal. They include:

  1. Butterfly Knives: Known as ‘flick knives’ in the UK, butterfly knives are illegal in Canada. They feature a folding knife design that opens with a flick of the wrist, making them easy to conceal.
  2. Automatic Knives: In Canada, automatic knives are considered weapons and are governed by the Criminal Code. It is illegal to own, buy, sell, or possess an automatic knife in Canada.
  3. Centrifugal Knives: Also known as ‘flick knives’ or ‘balisongs’, centrifugal knives have been banned in Canada since 1995.
  4. Gravity Knives: Possessing a gravity knife in Canada is also prohibited by law.
  5. Knife Blades: Importing a switch knife, automatic knife, gravity knife, butterfly knife, or any knife with a blade that can be released with the flick of a button, is also prohibited.

Legal Ramifications of Carrying an Illegal Knife in Canada

The laws governing knife possession and usage in Canada are complex and vary from province to province. However, carrying a knife for self-protection can lead to charges ranging from “carrying a concealed weapon” to “possession of a weapon dangerous to the public peace”. Furthermore, any knife used for a crime can be seized, and the individual will be charged with possession of an illegal weapon.

Key Takeaways

While knives are essential tools, their misuse can lead to severe consequences. Hence, it’s crucial to understand the laws governing their possession and use. In Canada, carrying a knife, especially in public, is subject to strict regulations. While some knives like pocket knives and Swiss Army knives are legal, others like switchblades and butterfly knives are prohibited. The rules are complex and vary by province, so it’s essential to be aware of the local laws where you live or visit.

Always remember, the above information is meant to serve as a guide and not legal advice. If you have any doubts or concerns, consult with a legal expert or local law enforcement.

Last update on 2023-09-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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