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Firearm Users Visiting Canada

Note

This information applies only to firearms that are neither restricted nor prohibited, as set out in Part III of the Criminal Code of Canada. For information on visiting Canada with restricted firearms, contact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Canadian Firearms Program (CFP). Additional requirements must be met before a restricted firearm can be brought into Canada.

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The Firearms Act is a federal law and therefore applies across the country. Provinces and territories may have additional requirements, especially with respect to hunting.

An individual must be at least 18 years old to bring a firearm into Canada. Individuals that are younger than 18 may use a firearm in certain circumstances, but an adult must remain present and responsible for the firearm.

Licensing Requirements

Firearm owners and users in Canada must have firearms licences for the class of firearms in their possession. A licence issued under Canada's Firearms Act is different from a provincial hunting licence.

Non-residents have two options for meeting the Canadian licensing requirements:

Option 1

Declare firearms in writing to a customs officer at the point of entry to Canada, using the Non-Resident Firearm Declaration (form RCMP 5589).

If there are more than three firearms, a Non-Resident Firearm Declaration Continuation Sheet (form RCMP 5590) should be added.

The declaration form should be filled out prior to arrival at the point of entry, in order to save time. However, it should not be signed before arriving at the entry point, as a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) customs officer must witness the signature.

A confirmed declaration costs a flat fee of $25, regardless of the number of firearms listed on it. It is valid only for the person who signs it and only for those firearms listed on the declaration.

Once the declaration has been confirmed by the CBSA customs officer, it acts as a licence for the owner and it is valid for 60 days. The declaration can be renewed for free, providing it is renewed before it expires, by contacting the Chief Firearms Officer (call 1-800-731-4000) of the relevant province or territory.

Option 2

Apply for a five-year Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL).

To apply for a PAL, applicants must provide evidence that they have passed the written and practical tests for the Canadian Firearms Safety Course. A course from another country does not meet Canadian legal requirements. However, it may be possible to take the tests without taking the course.

The CFO of the province or territory to be visited can provide information on any other documents that will be required to complete the background security check.

With a Canadian firearms licence, there is no need to complete the Non-Resident Firearms Declaration. However, an oral declaration must still be made to the customs officer.

For Firearms Borrowed in Canada

No licence is required if the firearms user remains under the direct and immediate supervision of a licensed adult.

Otherwise, one of the following is necessary:

Note

A confirmed Non-Resident Firearms Declaration does not currently permit the borrowing of firearms in Canada.

A temporary borrowing licence permits the following uses:

  • hunting under the supervision of an outfitter or other person authorized to organize hunting services in Canada;
  • hunting with a Canadian resident who has the proper firearms licence and hunting licence;
  • competing in a shooting competition;
  • target shooting at an approved shooting club or range;
  • taking part in an historical re-enactment or display;
  • engaging in a business or scientific activity being carried out in a remote area where firearms are needed to control animal predators;
  • taking part in a parade, pageant or other similar event; or
  • using firearms for movie, television, video or theatrical productions or publishing activities.

Buying or Selling a Firearm in Canada

Duties and taxes are not generally payable when a firearm is temporarily imported using a confirmed Non-Resident Firearm Declaration, because its purpose is to support temporary use in Canada, followed by re-exportation.

Duties and taxes may be payable if a firearm is brought into Canada and then sold or given to someone in Canada (i.e., not re-exported). For more information, please contact the CBSA at 1-800-461-9999 (toll-free within Canada) or 204-983-3500 or 506‑636-5064 (long distance charges apply).

Anyone acquiring a firearm in Canada must have a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL). PALs can be confirmed by contacting the CFP.

Restricted firearms must be registered prior to sale or transfer with the CFP.

Buying or Importing Ammunition

A PAL or a confirmed Non-Resident Firearm Declaration or a Temporary Firearms Borrowing Licence (for Non-residents) is necessary to buy ammunition in Canada. Limited amounts may be brought into Canada with you. Please note that ammunition should not be loaded in a firearm when arriving at an entry point.

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is responsible for regulating the import of ammunition under the Explosives Act. Contact NRCan for information on how much ammunition can be imported for personal use. For information on how much ammunition can be imported duty-free, please contact the CBSA.

Storage, Display and Transportation

In order to bring a firearm to Canada, the Storage, Display, Transportation and Handling of Firearms by Individuals Regulations must be complied with. For non-restricted firearms:

  • A secure locking device, such as a trigger lock or cable lock, should be attached, so the firearms cannot be fired; or
  • The firearms should be locked in a cabinet, container or room that is difficult to break into.
  • The ammunition should be stored separately or locked up. It can be stored in the same locked container as the firearms.
  • If left in an unattended vehicle, firearms should be kept in the trunk, or out of sight. The vehicle should be locked.

Fees (in Canadian funds)

  • A confirmed Non-Resident Firearm Declaration costs $25. This fee covers all the firearms listed on the declaration.
  • An initial PAL costs $60. It is valid for five years. For more information on the current licence fee structure, please contact the CFP by one of the methods listed at the end of this document.
  • A Temporary Firearms Borrowing Licence (for Non-Residents) costs $30.

Prohibited Devices

Some large-capacity magazines are prohibited even if the firearms for which the magazines are designed are allowed. As a general rule, the maximum capacity is:

  • five cartridges for most magazines designed for a centre-fire semi-automatic long gun; and
  • ten cartridges for most handgun magazines.

There is no maximum magazine capacity for other types of long guns, including semi-automatics that discharge only rim-fire ammunition.

Replica firearms, except for replicas of antique firearms, are prohibited and cannot be brought into Canada.

Replica firearms are devices that look exactly or almost exactly like real firearms. As a rule, to be prohibited, a device must closely resemble an existing make and model of firearm, not just a generic firearm. Many of these devices have to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Devices designed exclusively for signalling purposes (e.g., flare guns), and intended to be used solely for that purpose, are exempt from the requirements set out below. However, some flare guns that are based on the same frame or receiver as a firearm are considered to be firearms and are not exempt from firearms controls.

Important Notice

Until further notice, due to ongoing litigation, Quebec residents are required to register non-restricted firearms with the Canadian Firearms Program.

Information

For more information, contact the CFP.

Application forms for Non-Resident Firearms Declarations and Temporary Borrowing Licences may also be obtained from Canadian tourist offices, customs offices, gun clubs and outfitters.

For information on the declaration process, please call the CBSA:

  • Within Canada: 1-800-461-9999
  • Outside Canada: 204-983-3500 or 506-636-5064

For information on the regulations for hunting migratory birds, please contact the Department of Environment Canada:

  • Telephone: 819-997-2800 or 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
  • Fax: 819-819-994-1412
  • E-mail: enviroinfo@ec.gc.ca
  • Website: www.ec.gc.ca/rcom-mbhr/

For information on hunting other types of game, please contact the appropriate provincial or territorial authorities or refer to their website.

For information on regulations pertaining to ammunition, please contact the Explosives Safety and Security Branch of Natural Resources Canada:

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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