Previously, in certain respects, quite similar to the US. Background check (usually 3 week turnaround) and then fine. Probably 20 years ago that was not necessary, but I was just a bit too young to own a gun then.
Handguns, for the most part, have always been illegal in Canada. Same goes for automatic weapons and most semi-automatic weapons. The semi-auto stuff like AR-15s are a no no, for the most part. Semi-auto hunting rifles are ok, but I believe magazine capacity is limited. Back to handguns. You can own them, but they must be registered and you must declare where they will be used. Typically that is only at a range and then stored at home or range. There are regulations about transporting them between the two points as well.
Recently, the Federal Goobermint installed the Firearms registration act. You must now have a firearms acquisition certificate, essentially, a gun license. This has cost the Feds at least a billion dollars to install, much to the dismay of most of the population. Those would be tax dollars, not license fees too, though the latter exist, they hardly pay for the registration process. Many have opted to not have the certificate and as such, are now viewed as criminals. You need the certificate to purchase and own the weapon and to purchase and own the ammunition.
Cynically, what it seems to amount to is civilians being charged when the weapons are stolen from their home and are used in the commission of a crime. There are storage regulations for firearms as well. Trigger lock, locking cabinet with ammunition locked in a separate compartment from the weapon itself.
Realistically, it cost one billion dollars and rising and has done nothing to stop the use of firearms in commission of a crime. That, for all but the political types, seems to be a no brainer. Most that are involved in armed crimes don't typically register their weapons. Do they?
I am completely willing to be corrected on finer points, but it gives you the gist of the regulations. I do not own any firearms, though I have an FAC.