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Firearm Users Younger than 18

Those under 18 years of age are not permitted to bring firearms into Canada or to acquire firearms by any means, even as a gift, but they are allowed to use them under some circumstances.

Minor’s Licence

A minor’s licence permits the borrowing of non-restricted firearms (ordinary rifles and shotguns) for the following activities:

  • target practice
  • organized shooting competitions
  • hunting
  • being instructed in the use of firearms

A minor's licence also permits the acquisition of ammunition, unless there is an age restriction under provincial or territorial law.

As a general rule, the following requirements must be met:

  • The applicant must be at least 12 years old. If they are younger than 12, they may obtain a minor's licence only if they are Canadian residents and their Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) determines they need to hunt or trap to sustain themselves or their family.
  • As per section 7 of the Firearms Act, individuals under 18 must complete the Canadian Firearms Safety Course and pass the test in order to get a licence. They are not eligible to challenge and attempt to pass the test without taking the course.
  • Individuals younger than 18 years of age are not eligible to hold a licence authorizing them to possess prohibited or restricted firearms.

A licence application (form RCMP 5485) can be obtained by contacting the relevant CFO. Non-residents can contact the CFO of the province or territory where they will most likely use the firearm.

A Firearms Officer may interview the applicant or their parent or guardian, who must first agree and consent to the conditions under which the minor may use firearms, before a minor's licence will be issued.

Conditions may be placed on the licence. For example, some supervision may be required when the minor uses a firearm.

The minor's licence will expire on the holder’s 18th birthday or the expiry date shown on their licence, whichever comes first.  

Licence Fee

The fee for a minor’s licence is $10 for up to one year, $20 for one to two years and $30 for over two years.

Exception:

  • There may be no licence fee if the minor needs a firearm to hunt or trap in order to sustain themselves or their family.

Using Firearms Without a Minor’s Licence

Without a minor’s licence, the minor may still use firearms of any class, providing they are under the direct and immediate supervision of someone who is licensed to possess that class of firearm. This generally means that the licensed person must be close enough to them to take immediate action to prevent any unsafe or illegal use of the firearm.

This provision affects cadets and members of other youth organizations who receive instruction in the use of firearms or who take part in target practice. It also applies to young people who go hunting or who use restricted or prohibited firearms in organized shooting competitions.

Turning 18

Once they turn 18, individuals will no longer be eligible for a minor’s licence. Instead, they must apply for a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) and pay the applicable fee. More information on the current licence fee structure is available by contacting the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP).  

Registration

Restricted or prohibited firearms must be registered. Only people 18 years or older may register firearms. This means that any restricted or prohibited firearm used by a minor must be registered to an adult who has a valid firearms licence.

Information

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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