Businesses, including auctioneers that sell firearms, are required to have a Firearms Licence for Businesses valid for all the classes (non-restricted, restricted and prohibited) of firearms they sell.
An Application for a Firearms Licence for Businesses (Including Museums) (form RCMP 5486), can be obtained by contacting the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP). All activities that apply to the business must be included on the application, and the licence will be limited to those activities.
The fee for a business licence to sell firearms at auction can vary, depending on the firearm-related activities included. The overall cost of the licence is determined by the activity with the highest fee, although all activities will be noted on the licence. Fee information can be obtained by contacting the CFP.
Every employee who handles firearms as part of their employment with an auctioneer licensed as a firearms business is required to have a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL). If the auctioneer handles only non-restricted firearms, the employees are required to have PALs for non-restricted firearms only. If the auctioneer handles restricted or prohibited firearms, the employees are required to have PALs that allow them to possess and acquire restricted firearms.
Employees must renew their PAL every five years and inform the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) of any address change.
Firearms must be stored and displayed safely at all times to deter loss, theft and accidents. Firearms displayed for auction must be unloaded, and ammunition cannot be displayed with the firearms.
If firearms are stored and displayed on the auctioneer's premises, the Storage, Display and Transportation of Firearms and Other Weapons by Businesses Regulationsapply. If the seller is an individual and the auction will be held on the seller's property, the Storage, Display, Transportation and Handling of Firearms by Individuals Regulations apply.
Buyers who want to examine a firearm before bidding on it can handle a firearm only if they are licensed to possess that class of firearm or they remain under the direct and immediate supervision of a properly licensed person while they handle the firearm.
Buyers need either a PAL or a business licence, with the appropriate privileges for the class of firearm they are acquiring. It is recommended that auctioneers remind potential buyers of the licence requirements before bidding begins.
Restricted or prohibited firearms must be registered to the buyer before the buyer can take possession of them. It is recommended that auctioneers contact the Chief Firearms Officer of their province or territory in advance to confirm the transfer process, particularly if the auction is taking place on a weekend or outside regular business hours.
Any restricted or prohibited firearms being transferred to the buyer will need to be verified by an approved verifier unless they have already been verified, their description has not changed, and the CFP is satisfied that the description and classification of the firearm are accurate. If selling firearms, auctioneers will need to have an approved verifier on staff to verify inventory. Auctioneers can arrange to have an employee trained and approved as a verifier, or get help to verify a firearm by contacting the CFP.
With a firearms business licence, an auctioneer can initiate a transfer of a restricted or prohibited firearm on the seller's behalf. If the seller is still in possession of the firearm and the auctioneer is simply taking bids on their behalf, the seller must initiate the transfer. The buyer must be involved in the transfer process as well.
A transfer application can be submitted using the online application if either the buyer or the seller has a firearms business licence and, in the case of restricted firearms, the firearms have previously been registered. The licensed business will need to start the transfer process. Auctioneers who have a firearms business licence and are transferring firearms to or from their own inventory may use the online process. Consignment sales of firearms cannot be done online, but can be done by phone or paper application.
An auctioneer who is licensed as a firearms business and initiates the transfer on the seller's behalf may call the CFP business hotline Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. nationwide, at 1-800-396-3466. If the transfer is being initiated by an individual rather than a licensed business, the individual must call the CFP's general toll-free information line at 1-800-731-4000.
The person who calls should have the following information ready:
An auctioneer who is licensed as a firearms business acting on the seller's behalf will also need to provide the name, address, Firearms Licence for Businesses number and Business Identification Number.
This option is available only to auctioneers who are licensed as firearms businesses that are initiating a transfer. A special fax version of form RCMP 5492 is required and can be obtained by contacting the CFP. The completed form must be faxed to 1-888-449-7911.
This process takes the longest because forms need to be mailed in. A buyer and seller who prefer to use this option must fill out the standard version of form RCMP 5492. The form can be obtained by contacting the CFP. It has two parts – one for the seller, the other for the buyer. The completed form must be mailed to:
RCMP Canadian Firearms Program
Central Processing Site
Miramichi, New Brunswick E1N 5Z3
Once a transfer has been completed, a notice will be sent to both the buyer and seller. If immediate notification is required, as is usually the case at auctions, the CFP transfer agent must be informed when the transfer process is initiated.
For more information, contact the CFP.
This fact sheet is intended to provide general information only. For legal references, please refer to the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act and their corresponding regulations. Provincial, territorial and municipal laws, regulations and policies may also apply.