Canada's prime minister Justin Trudeau has said the country is banning the use and trade of assault-style weapons immediately.

Mr Trudeau cited numerous mass shootings in the country, including the killing of 22 people in Nova Scotia in April. 

Mr Trudeau has said the government was on the verge of bringing in stricter gun control legislation in March, but halted plans when the pandemic hit.

Mass shootings are relatively rare in Canada, but Mr Trudeau said they are happening more often.

Mr Trudeau noted he was nearby in Montreal when a gunman killed 14 women and himself at the city's Ecole Polytechnique college in 1989.

He announced the ban of over 1,500 models and variants of assault-style firearms, including the AR-15 and other weapons that have been used in a number of mass shootings in the United States.

"Canadians need more than thoughts and prayers," Mr Trudeau said.

"You do not need an AR-15 to take down a deer" - Justin Trudeau 

The cabinet order does not forbid owning any of the military-style weapons and their variants, but it does ban the use and trade in them.

He said the order has a two-year amnesty period for current owners, and there will be a compensation programme that will require a bill passed in parliament.

In the meantime, they can be exported, returned to manufacturers, and transported only to deactivate them or get rid of them.

In certain limited circumstances, they can be used for hunting.

"You do not need an AR-15 to take down a deer," Mr Trudeau said.

"So, effective immediately, it is no longer permitted to buy, sell, transport, import or use military-grade, assault weapons in this country."

Mr Trudeau said the weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only - to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time.

"There is no use, and no place, for such weapons in Canada," he said.