Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Common menu bar links

Firearms Licensing

Frequently Asked Questions

Canadian Firearms Program

Q. Is the Possession-Only Licence (POL) still available?

Firearm owners whose POL expired on or after January 1, 2004, may be eligible to apply for a new POL, if they meet the following criteria:

  • They previously held a POL which expired naturally (was not revoked or refused);
  • They are in possession of at least one firearm; and
  • They meet all public safety requirements in order to possess firearms.

Eligible individuals who have maintained a valid address with the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) will be sent a new POL application.

Eligible individuals who have not received an application or who are unsure if they have updated their addresses are encouraged to call the CFP’s toll-free number: 1-800-731-4000. It is essential to notify the CFP of any address changes to ensure renewal notices and other important CFP information are received.

Previous POL holders with a PAL application still in process may apply for a new POL under this initiative. Individuals who have had a POL refused or revoked are not eligible to apply for the new POL. These individuals, and any other former POL-holders who do not meet the eligibility criteria above, must go through the Possession and Acquisition Licence application process.

Grandfathering privileges for prohibited firearms are permanently lost when a POL expires. They cannot be reinstated after obtaining a new POL. In these situations, prohibited firearms must be lawfully disposed of. Guidance on how to lawfully dispose of a firearm can be obtained through one of the contact options listed below.

Q. How do I renew my firearms licence?

Individuals with a Possession-Only Licence (POL) or a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) will be sent a partially completed renewal application (form RCMP 5614) at least 90 days before their licence expires. The application should be completed and returned as quickly as possible to enable it to be processed before the current licence expires.

If an individual’s licence is about to expire and they have not received a form to renew or replace it, they should call 1-800-731-4000 to confirm that the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) has their correct address on file. At the same time, they may request a form or download one from the CFP Website. Form RCMP 5614 is used to renew a POL or PAL that has not yet expired. Form RCMP 5592 is used if the licence has already expired.

Q. My licence has expired but I never received a renewal application. Why not?

Since the Fall of 2003, application forms have been sent to every licence holder whose licence was scheduled to expire within the next 90 days. If an individual did not receive an application form, he or she should call 1-800-731-4000 to confirm that the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) has their correct address on file. They can request a form at the same time, or download a form from the CFP Website.

It is important that the CFP be notified of any change of address. This can be done online or by calling 1-800-731-4000.

Q. What happens if I do not renew my licence?

To be able to possess firearms lawfully, a licence authorizing possession of the firearm is required.  A registration certificate is required for any restricted or prohibited firearms. 

If the firearms licence expires, registration certificates for restricted or prohibited firearms may be revoked. Therefore, it is very important that the licence be renewed before it expires in order to minimize the risk of penalties under the Criminal Code for illegal possession of a firearm.

For those with prohibited firearms, grandfathering privileges to possess those firearms only apply if they continuously hold a registration certificate for those categories of prohibited firearms. To keep the registration certificates they need to keep and renew their licence.

Possession-Only Licences can be renewed only before they expire, by those in possession of at least one firearm in each class that they are licensed to possess.

Q. When I renew my Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL), do I need to resend a copy of my safety training certificates?

There is no requirement to resend safety training information when renewing a PAL with the same acquisition privileges. When applying for a licence with new privileges -- for example, someone currently licensed only for non-restricted firearms but wishing also to be licensed for restricted firearms -- proof of having met the additional safety training requirements is required.

Q. Can I submit a licence application online?

It is not possible to submit a licence application online because original signatures and an original photo are required. However, the application form for a Possession and Acquisition Licence (form RCMP 5592) can be downloaded and filled out electronically, then printed and mailed to the Canadian Firearms Program.

Q. How do I upgrade from a Possession-Only Licence (POL) to a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL)?

This upgrade requires a new application on form RCMP 5592 and a new photo, as well as evidence that you have met the safety training requirements.

To be licensed for restricted firearms, individuals must also have passed the tests for the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course (CRFSC). If they successfully completed the CFSC before February 1, 1999, when it included information on restricted firearms, they are deemed to have completed both courses.

If an individual took a firearm safety course but is not sure if it is the one they need, or if they need help in finding out where to take the tests or course and tests in their area, they should call 1-800-731-4000.

Q. I have a firearms licence. If I apply for a new licence to upgrade my licence privileges, do I need to pay the full licence fee for my new licence?

To determine the current fee structure, applicants should contact the Canadian Firearms Program by calling 1-800-731-4000.

Q. How do I upgrade my PAL so that I can acquire restricted as well as non-restricted firearms?

A new application on form RCMP 5592 and a new photo are required, as well as evidence of meeting the additional safety-training requirements.

Q. How do I replace a lost, stolen or destroyed licence?

To replace a lost, stolen or destroyed licence, individuals should submit a Firearms Documents Replacement Request (form RCMP 5515). The replacement fee is $25 for a Possession-Only Licence or Possession and Acquisition Licence, or $10 for a Minor’s Licence.

There is a legal obligation to report the loss of a firearms licence to the police of local jurisdiction and to the Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) of the province or territory where the individual lives.

Q. I do not own firearms but I am storing firearms for someone else. Do I need a licence?

As a general rule, individuals in possession of a firearm need a licence even if they are not the owner and never handle the firearm.

Q. Do I need to carry my licence and registration certificates with me when I take my firearms out hunting?

The Criminal Code states that a firearms licence and a registration certificate for any restricted or prohibited firearms must be produced for the inspection of a peace officer. If these documents are not produced, the peace officer may seize the firearms. If that was the only reason the firearms were seized, and the required documents are produced for inspection within 14 days, the police are required to return the firearms.

Q. If my licence application is turned down or if my licence is revoked, how do I make an appeal?

The matter may be referred to a provincial court judge in the jurisdiction within 30 days of receiving the notice of refusal or revocation (or by any other date allowed by the judge.) The court should be contacted for procedures on how to make a reference.

Q. Do the licensing and registration requirements apply to bows?

Crossbows that can be aimed and fired with one hand and crossbows with an overall length of 500 mm (about 19.68 inches) or less are prohibited. Individuals cannot lawfully possess a prohibited crossbow. Licensed businesses may possess prohibited crossbows for a purpose set out in section 22 of the Firearms Licence Regulations.

Businesses and individuals do not need a licence or registration certificate under the Firearms Act to possess other types of bows, including crossbows that are longer than 500 mm and require the use of two hands.

To use a bow for hunting, a hunting licence may be required and there may be restrictions on the size and type of bow that may be used under provincial hunting regulations. For example, some provinces do not allow crossbows for hunting. For more information, the applicable provincial government should be contacted.

Q. If I have a Minor’s Licence, what do I do when I turn 18?

On turning 18, individuals can apply for a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) by completing and submitting form RCMP 5592. This form can be filled out electronically, then printed and mailed to the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) with a photo and original signatures. Individuals who cannot download the form from the CFP web site should call 1-800-731-4000 and have one mailed to them.

Since individuals had to pass the Canadian Firearms Safety Course to get their Minors’ Licence, they do not have to pass it again to get a PAL for non-restricted firearms. However, if they want to be licensed for restricted firearms, they will have to pass the tests for the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course before applying.

Once individuals have a PAL, they can acquire firearms of their own. Any restricted or prohibited firearms will be registered during the transfer process.

Q. If I have had a Minor’s Licence, do I need to pay for a Possession and Acquisition Licence?

Yes. Everyone has to pay for their first Possession and Acquisition Licence unless a Chief Firearms Officer has waived the fee because of the person’s need to hunt to sustain themselves or their family.

Q. Can I use a handgun if I am a minor?

The Minor’s Licence is only valid for non-restricted rifles and shotguns, but licensed minors may use a handgun if they are under the direct and immediate supervision of someone licensed to possess that class of firearm.