Individuals who possess firearms or handle them in the course of their work are required, under the Firearms Act, to have a firearms licence. A firearms licence is also necessary to acquire firearms or ammunition.
Firearms licences are generally valid for five years, and must be renewed before they expire. It's the licence holder's responsibility. Renewing on time will help to avoid possible complications and consequences, including being charged with unauthorized possession of a firearm.
The RCMP Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) is making every effort to facilitate the renewal of licences:
- The CFP will send a renewal notice and a partially completed renewal application form approximately 90 days before the expiry date of a licence. For this reason, the CFP needs to be notified of address changes.
- Completed renewal applications should be returned to the CFP as soon as possible to ensure the new licence is issued before the current licence expires. Complete and accurate licence applications are normally processed within 45 days.
- It is important to notify the CFP of address changes so renewal notices and other important information are sent to the correct address. This can be done online or by calling the CFP.
- If a licence is about to expire but a renewal application form has not been received, an application form (RCMP 5614) can be downloaded from the CFP website here, or obtained by calling the CFP.
Advantages to renewing a licence before it expires include:
- The CFP uses a streamlined process for renewals, whereas a longer process is used for individuals who do not have a licence or whose licence has expired.
- Those who renew avoid the risk of having their registration certificates revoked and permanently losing their grandfathered privileges for any prohibited firearms they possess.
- The risk of penalties for unlawful possession of firearms can be avoided.
- A Possession Only Licence (POL) is available only as a renewal of an existing licence. If a POL is not renewed on time, the licensee must obtain a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL), including meeting safety training, if they want to continue owning or using firearms.
Exception: Until May 16, 2015, those who (a) still possess restricted or non-restricted firearms and (b) have not been prohibited from possession, are eligible to apply for a new POL to replace an expired POL. Eligible applicants can obtain an application form by contacting the CFP.
A snapshot look at licences for individuals 18 and older
||Possession Only (POL)
||Possession and Acquisition (PAL)
- authorizes possession of firearms
- available prior to 2001 to firearms owners who did not plan to acquire more firearms
- cannot be used to acquire more firearms
- authorizes possession of firearms
- required for acquisition of more firearms
|Licence Renewal (form RCMP 5614)
- valid POL or PAL is about to expire and
- licence privileges are not being changed
- must renew before current licence expires
- licence will be valid only for approved classes of firearms
- must renew before current licence expires if in possession of firearms
- not necessary to possess a firearm to be eligible for a PAL
- no current licence or
- licence has expired or
- licence privileges are being changed or
- switching from a Minor's Licence after turning 18
|Form RCMP 6006
- available only to those with a POL that expired after January 1, 2004
- must apply before May 16, 2015
- must still possess firearms
- eligible applicants can contact the CFP for a form
|Form RCMP 5592
- the only licence now available to unlicensed individuals 18 and older (See exception for those with an expired POL who meet criteria)
- must meet safety-training requirements (see below)
- safety-training requirements set out in the law
- must pass the Canadian Firearm Safety Course or
- obtain alternative certification from a Chief Firearms Officer
- some pre-1995 hunter-safety courses in Manitoba and Quebec are also acceptable
- additional requirements for restricted and prohibited firearms
The fee payable by an individual for the issuance or renewal of a PAL is $60 for non-restricted firearms only, and $80 for any combination of non-restricted, restricted, or prohibited firearms. The fee payable by an individual for the issuance or renewal of a POL is $60.
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.