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Firearm Owners and Users Aged 18 and Older

Licence Requirements

It is necessary to have a firearms licence in order to possess or borrow a firearm or to acquire, by any means, a firearm or ammunition.


A licence is not necessary to borrow a firearm if the borrower remains under the direct and immediate supervision of a properly licensed adult aged 18 or older.

A firearms licence must be valid for the class or classes of firearms in ones possession. The three classes are:

  • non-restricted (ordinary rifles and shotguns),
  • restricted, and
  • prohibited.

Types of Licence

Possession Only Licence (POL)

The POL is available only to individuals who applied before January 1, 2001. It allows them to keep firearms that they have continuously owned and, if restricted or prohibited, have been registered in their name, since December 1, 1998. It also allows them to borrow firearms from any class permitted by their POL, but not to acquire more. The POL is no longer available to new applicants. However, it may be renewed if the renewal application is submitted before the POL expires, the applicant still lawfully possesses firearms in the applicable classes and public safety requirements are met.

Partially completed renewal application forms are mailed out at least 90 days before a licence expires. To ensure that renewal applications are received and to keep a licence current and in good standing, it is important to notify the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) of any address changes.

If a POL expires before it is renewed, or if firearms are disposed of, the only licence option available is the Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL).


For a limited period of time, individuals whose POL has expired, who possess restricted and/or non-restricted firearms and have not been prohibited from possession, may apply for a new POL. For more information, contact the CFP.

Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL)

The Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) allows an individual to continue in possession of firearms they already own and to acquire more firearms. With the exception noted above, it is the only licence available to those who do not currently hold a firearms licence. To be eligible, specific safety-training requirements must be met.


Both types of licence allow the licence holder to acquire ammunition.


A valid registration certificate is required for each restricted or prohibited firearm that an individual possesses. A certificate issued under the former firearms legislation (prior to December 1, 1998) is no longer valid.

If a restricted or prohibited firearm is borrowed, the registration certificate must also be borrowed.

If a restricted or prohibited firearm that is registered in Canada is bought or sold, the registration records must be updated to show the transfer of ownership. Records must also be updated when a registered firearm is disposed of – for example, if it is turned in to police or a firearms officer. The local police service should be contacted to make suitable arrangements for the firearms to be picked up or delivered. Firearms should not be taken to police services without making prior arrangements. To transfer and register a restricted or prohibited firearm to a new owner, or to notify the Registrar of the disposal of a registered firearm, please call 1-800-731-4000.

Firearm Verification

Restricted or prohibited firearms must be verified by an approved verifier if:

  • they are being registered for the first time; or
  • they are being transferred to a new owner and have not previously been verified; or
  • they have been modified so that their description has changed, or
  • the Registrar requests that they be verified to confirm their description or classification.

Please call 1-800-731-4000 for help in verifying a firearm.


The initial fee for a PAL is $60 for possession of non-restricted firearms only, or $80 for possession of any combination of non-restricted, restricted and prohibited firearms.

For more information on the current licence fee structure, please contact the CFP.

There are no fees to register or transfer a firearm.

Storing, Displaying, Transporting and Handling Firearms

Firearms must be stored, displayed, transported and handled safely, as set out in the Storage, Display, Transportation and Handling of Firearms by Individuals Regulations.

An Authorization to Transport (ATT) is required to transport restricted and prohibited firearms. Call 1-800-731-4000 or submit form RCMP 5490 to apply. There is no fee for an ATT.


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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