There are currently three types of firearms licences for individuals in Canada: the Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL), the Possession Only Licence (POL) and the Minor’s Licence. Only the PAL and Minor’s Licence are available for new applicants.
All businesses and organizations that produce, sell, possess, handle, display or store firearms or ammunition are required to have a valid firearms business licence.
|Province/Territory||Possession Licence||Possession and
|Newfoundland and Labrador||27,768||45,787||208||73,763|
|Prince Edward Island||3,363||3,119||16||6,498|
|Province/Territory||Licences per 100,000 Population*|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||14,593|
|Prince Edward Island||4,783|
* Licences per 100,000 population are calculated using Provincial/Territorial populations from 2006 Census
A firearms licence for an individual is valid for five years, at which point the individual must renew the licence.
|Quarter||Total Number of
Licences Set to
Expire During the Period
|Renewed||Did not Renew||Renewal Rate for
|2009 Q 1||73,261||54,713||18,548||74.7%|
|2009 Q 2||77,852||58,982||18,870||75.8%|
|2009 Q 3||76,206||60,138||16,068||78.9%|
|2009 Q 4||62,618||48,839||13,779||78.0%|
|2010 Q 1||65,507||50,816||14,691||77.6%|
|2010 Q 2||66,135||51,395||14,740||77.7%|
|2010 Q 3||65,391||52,951||12,440||81.0%|
|2010 Q 4||60,037||53,030||7,007||88.3%|
|2011 Q 1||51,320||46,613||4,707||90.8%|
|2011 Q 2||54,388||49,485||4,903||91.0%|
|2011 Q 3||58,315||52,804||5,511||90.5%|
|2011 Q 4||66,747||58,743||8,004||88.0%|
Firearms safety training is a fundamental element of the Canadian Firearms Program. To obtain a PAL or a Minor’s Licence an applicant must have satisfied the requirements of the Canadian Firearms Safety Course (CFSC). It is also possible in some cases for a PAL applicant to receive alternative certification. To own or acquire restricted firearms, an individual must satisfy the requirements of the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course (CRFSC) or have been alternatively certified, in addition to having satisfied the requirements of the CFSC. These courses help ensure that those who possess and use firearms are fully aware of their responsibility for the safe handling, transport and storage of firearms.
|Year||No. of Alternate Certifications||No. of CFSCs||No. of CFSC Students||No. of CRFSC||No. of CRFSC Students|
|Total||39, 313||68, 983||653, 096||22, 956||143, 971|
NOTE: These totals do not include the number of individuals who have taken the above courses in Quebec.
Licensing of an individual to possess firearms requires a variety of background checks. Applicants are screened to detect potential public safety risks based on information provided with a firearms licence application. Continuous eligibility screening is conducted over the term of the licence to identify any public safety risks that may arise over time. A licence may also be revoked following a court order or a Chief Firearm Officer’s investigation resulting from a call to the CFP’s public safety line (1-800-731-4000).
The Registrar of Firearms is notified of all licence revocations, is responsible for revoking all associated registration certificates, and works to ensure proper disposal of the firearms. For more information on refusals and revocations, please consult the
NOTE: Reasons for licence refusals or revocations include: a history of violence, mental illness, potential risk to oneself or others, unsafe firearm use and storage, drug offences, and providing false information.
* Up to December 31, 2011
* Up to December 31, 2011
The registration of firearms links firearms and their licensed owners, thereby enhancing owners’ accountability for safe storage and use of firearms. A centralized, on-line, secure database of firearms information helps police and other public safety officials carry out investigations efficiently and effectively enabling them to quickly trace a firearm to its last lawful owner.
|Newfoundland and Labrador||207,108||4,250||1,556||212,914|
|Prince Edward Island||22,111||1,737||793||24,641|
|Province/Territory||Firearms per 100,000 Population*|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||42,122|
|Prince Edward Island||18,138|
*Firearms per 100,000 population are calculated using Provincial/Territorial populations from 2006 Census
A firearm must be legally transferred whenever it is sold, traded or given to someone else. The registration information must be updated to indicate the new owner, if he or she lives in Canada. This process is referred to as a “transfer” under the Firearms Act.
NOTE: EFAST is a legacy system that is being phased out
|2009 Q 1||77,943||67,041||0||0||144,984|
|2009 Q 2||78,766||87,345||0||0||166,111|
|2009 Q 3||80,124||91,126||0||0||171,250|
|2009 Q 4||91,155||84,112||2||8||175,277|
|2010 Q 1||70,017||74,602||2||0||144,621|
|2010 Q 2||76,672||108,379||0||0||185,051|
|2010 Q 3||86,845||117,713||1||6||204,565|
|2010 Q 4||86,448||107,692||0||0||194,140|
|2011 Q 1||81,237||90,692||0||0||171,929|
|2011 Q 2||76,867||124,192||0||10||201,069|
|2011 Q 3||76,002||142,516||0||0||218,518|
|2011 Q 4||73,516||142,417||0||0||215,933|
|Quarter||Percentage within Standard|
|2009 Q 1||96.5%|
|2009 Q 2||97.4%|
|2009 Q 3||97.7%|
|2009 Q 4||96.7%|
|2010 Q 1||97.3%|
|2010 Q 2||97.8%|
|2010 Q 3||97.3%|
|2010 Q 4||96.2%|
|2011 Q 1||97.0%|
|2011 Q 2||96.5%|
|2011 Q 3||98.2%|
|2011 Q 4||98.0%|
NOTE: this figure refers to the mailing of a hard copy Registration certificate to the transferee. The transfer transaction is typically updated in CFIS within a few hours, and the transferee can legally take possession of the firearms at that point.
The Canadian Firearms Registry On-line (CFRO) is a subset of the Canadian Firearms Information System (CFIS). The system is available to Canadian police agencies via the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) system to assist them when responding to calls and conducting investigations. As a searchable application, police officers may query the name, address and firearms licence number of an individual, or firearm-related information such as the serial number or registration certificate number of a firearm. CFRO provides police with real-time access to the information they require in their investigative and operational activities.
* Up to December 31, 2011
NOTE: The total may not match the sum of the components due to rounding
|Quarter||All Query Types|
|2009 Q 1||>884,635|
|2009 Q 2||981,375|
|2009 Q 3||1,088,296|
|2009 Q 4||1,088,510|
|2010 Q 1||1,203,522|
|2010 Q 2||1,335,487|
|2010 Q 3||1,365,119|
|2010 Q 4||1,335,907|
|2011 Q 1||1,416,881|
|2011 Q 2||1,692,380|
|2011 Q 3||1,779,706|
|2011 Q 4||1,374,188|
NOTE: The numbers from previous quarters have increased between this report and last, due to new data becoming available.
for 2011 Q4
|Newfoundland and Labrador||23,509||4,651|
|Prince Edward Island||2,361||1,738|
*Queries per 100,000 population are calculated using Provincial/Territorial populations from 2006 Census
The Canadian Firearms Program operates a call centre located within its central processing site. This centre answers calls from the general public and licence holders relating to firearms licensing and registration.
|Year||Average Wait Time (seconds)||Total Number of Calls Received||Number of Calls Answered
within 3 Minutes
*Up to December 31, 2011