The following information describes requirements under Canada’s Firearms Act for Canadian residents who import firearms, ammunition and firearms parts.
When firearms are imported into Canada from another country, the applicable Canadian laws, as well as laws of the countries where the firearms are coming from or transiting through, must be complied with.
Information on the laws of other countries can be obtained by contacting the authorities in that country or their embassy in Canada.
- An individual cannot bring a prohibited firearm into Canada as a new import, even if he or she is licensed to possess that class of firearm. A prohibited firearm that was temporarily taken out of Canada may be re-imported, providing the individual has the license privilege authorizing possession, as well as a Canadian registration certificate for the firearm.
- Note: If planning to take a firearm out of Canada, individuals may need an export permit from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). More information is available from the Export Controls Division of DFAIT at 1-800-267-8376 (toll-free in Canada). Information on applying for an import or an export permit for controlled goods, such as firearms or ammunition, is available on the DFAIT website.
- In order to bring a restricted or non-restricted firearm into Canada as a new import, an individual must be at least 18 years old and have a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) with the licence privileges for the class of firearm that is being imported. A Possession Only Licence (POL) does not allow individuals to import a newly acquired firearm, though it does allow the re-importation of one that was temporarily taken out of Canada.
- All firearms must be declared at Canada Customs and the applicable duties and taxes must be paid. More information on the declaration process is available from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Border Information Services telephone service at 1‑800-461-9999 (toll-free from within Canada), or for calls outside of Canada, at 1-204-983-3500 or 1-506-636-5064. CBSA also publishes a guide titled Information on Importing a Firearm or Weapon Into Canada (BSF5044).
- Before a restricted firearm can be imported into Canada:
- it must be verified and registered with the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP). Assistance with the verification and registration of a newly imported firearm is available from the CFP at 1-800-731-4000 (Canada and the U.S.) or 1-506-624-6626 (outside Canada and the U.S.).
- an individual must obtain, in advance, an Authorization to Transport (ATT) from the Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) of the province or territory where they will be entering Canada. A restricted firearm must first be verified and registered with the CFP before the CFO will issue an ATT for it. Individuals can apply for an ATT by contacting the CFP, or by mailing or faxing form RCMP 5490 to the applicable CFO.
- Firearms that are shipped to an individual in Canada must be handled by a carrier company licensed under the Firearms Act to transport firearms. A list of eligible carrier companies is available here.
- Firearms shipped by a licensed carrier must be in a sturdy, non-transparent container that cannot readily be broken into and that is not likely to break open accidentally during transport. To deter theft, there should be no markings on the outside of the container to indicate that there are firearms inside unless the marking is an address. It is generally recommended that an envelope labelled “Customs Documents” be firmly attached to the outside of the container. Any waybills, import permits and export permits can then be put into the envelope.
Importing Firearm Parts and Ammunition
Prohibited ammunition or firearm parts that are classified as prohibited devices, including handgun barrels that are 105 mm or less in length or parts made exclusively for a fully automatic firearm, cannot be imported into Canada.
A valid firearms licence under Canadian law is not required to import non-prohibited firearm parts (except for a frame or receiver). However, an export permit from the other country may be required.
The Explosives Act sets limits on the amount of ammunition and ammunition components that may be imported without an import permit. Generally, the Explosives Act allows individuals to import up to 5,000 cartridges of non-prohibited ammunition for personal use without an import permit.
More information is available on the website of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), or by calling the Explosives Regulatory Division of NRCan at the appropriate number listed on their website. An import permit may be required for smaller amounts in order to comply with the laws of the exporting country.
Authorizations to Import
Currently, an import authorization under Canadian law for firearms or firearm parts that are not prohibited is not required. More information on whether one is required by the laws of the country from where the firearm is being exported is available by contacting DFAIT or the country’s embassy in Canada.
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.
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