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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - Individual Web Services (IWS)

Check Application Status

Q1. Who can use the online licence application status check?

A1. All classes of firearms licences managed by RCMP Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) can access the online licence application status; including Possession Only Licences (POL), Possession and Acquisition Licences (PAL) and Minor's.

If your POL or PAL, or a Minor's Licence has expired you may still access the Individual Web Services to check your application status.

Q2. The online application status hasn't changed. When will it update?

A2. Complete and accurate licence applications are normally processed within 45 days. Please allow 45 days before contacting the program for an update. If there is no change to the application status available online you may be contacted for further information or documentation needed to finalize your application.

For a Registration, applications are normally processed in 30 days.

Q3. My application status information doesn't tell me what I want to know. Where can I get more detail?

A3. The application status displayed online is of a general nature and will typically inform you if your application has been received, is in processing or has been finalized. For more detailed information you may wish to contact the CFP directly.

Registration of Firearms

Q4. What firearms should be registered?

A4. On April 5, 2012, Bill C-19, the Ending the Long-gun Registry Act, came into effect. One of the key changes was the removal of the requirement to register non-restricted firearms. The legislation does not impact registration requirements for restricted or prohibited firearms.

Q5. I have an RWRS registration. Do I need to register it again?

A5. Yes. The RWRS (Restricted Weapon Registration Service) has not been a valid form of registration since 2002. In order to maintain valid registration you must have a current registration certificate under the Firearms Act in force as of January 1, 2003.

Q6. If I register a firearm online will I be able to print a registration certificate?

A6. No. You may SUBMIT a registration application online however all such applications for Restricted or Prohibited firearms undergo further review before a registration certificate can be issued.

You will receive a transaction confirmation at the end of the application process. Retain this confirmation number for your records to show you are in the process of complying with the Firearms Regulations.

If a registration certificate is issued it will be mailed to you. This is the only valid form of documentation.

Q7. I need to register my firearm but I don't have the Internet. What do I do?

A7. Public access to the Internet is available at kiosks in libraries and Internet cafes. There is NO REQUIREMENT to use the online service to register your firearm; you are still free to renew by paper form available for download on the website or by mail by contacting the CFP.

Q8. I need to register my firearm urgently before I import it to Canada and I don't have time to register and learn how to use the system. What can I do?

A8. The fastest way to have your registration application received by the CFP is through the online tool. By submitting the form online your application is directly entered into the CFP database, instantly showing you have submitted a registration application and are attempting to lawfully comply with the Firearms Act and Regulations.

Users have been able to sign-up for IWS and create GC Key authentication since July 2013. It is your responsibility to plan ahead to ensure that your requirement to register is met prior to the need to bring the firearm over the border.

Q9. Isn't the firearms registry gone now? Why are firearms being registered?

A9. On April 5, 2012, Bill C-19, Ending the Long-gun Registry Act, came into effect. The legislation does not impact registration requirements for restricted or prohibited firearms.

Q10. It says I have to verify my firearm before I register it. What is that?

A10. 'Verification' of a firearm is the term used for examining and classifying a firearm properly. It includes correctly finding a firearm's make and model, barrel length, calibre etc.

Verification MUST be done by a certified verifier.

Q11. What is an FRT number? If I don't have an FRT number can I still register my firearm?

A11. You cannot register a firearm without an FRT number.

FRT refers to the 'Firearms Reference Table' a world renowned tool developed by the RCMP for cataloguing tens of thousands of different firearm descriptions. A certified verifier will be able to match your firearm with a description in the FRT and its associated catalogue number.

Q12. Where can I get my firearm verified?

A12. The Canadian Firearms Program has established verification services to assist businesses and individuals that need to have their firearms verified. Most businesses licenced to buy and sell firearms have a certified verifier on staff.

You may contact the CFP to get in touch with verification services.

Q13. What's the difference between transferring a firearm and registering a firearm?

A13. A firearm should only ever need to be registered once. Registration assigns a unique Firearms Identification Number (FIN) to the gun that never changes. However every new owner of the firearm is issued a new Registration Certificate number.

If a firearm changes hands to a new owner there is no need to register it a second time, simply transfer the existing ownership to the new individual. This can be done over the phone by contacting the CFP.

Q14. Is my firearm registered once I submit it online?

A14. No. The online registrations tool allows you to SUBMIT your application but it still must go through several stages of validation to ensure you maintain a valid licence and privileges for that firearm.

You will receive a confirmation number to prove your registration is in progress and you are making every attempt to comply with the law.

You may be contacted for additional information to process your registration application.

Licence Renewals

Q15. Who can use the online licensing renewal system?

A15. Holders of valid firearms licences managed by RCMP Canadian Firearms Program (CFP), including Possession Only Licences (POL), and Possession and Acquisition Licences (PAL) can access the online licence Renewal system.

Holders of an expired POL or PAL, or a Minor's Licence, may access the Individual Web Services but cannot renew a licence online.

Q16. Does the online licence renewal apply to business firearms licences?

A16. No. There is no functionality to renew a business licence online at this time.

Q17. What licensing services can I do online?

A17. Apply to renew your licence and submit the associated fee, view licence application status, as well as update some personal information (but not all).

Q18. What should I do if the personal information I want to update cannot be done through the system?

A18. CFP agents are available to provide you with licensing services not yet available through the online licensing system. Call Client Support toll free at 1-800-731-4000 or send an e-mail to cfp-pcaf@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.

Q19. Will the Program continue to send me licence renewal reminders, licence conditions and/or other licensing documents by mail?

A19. Yes. You will continue to receive renewal notices 3 months prior to expiry and your licence card with card-holder (and licence conditions) through the mail.

You will NO LONGER receive a pre-populated licence renewal form with your notice; this cuts down on mailing costs to taxpayers. The licence renewal form will be available on the CFP website for you to print.

Q20. I need to renew my licence but I don't have the Internet. What do I do?

A20. Public access to the Internet is available at kiosks in libraries and Internet cafes. There is NO REQUIREMENT to use the internet and you are still free to renew your licence by paper form available for download on the website or by mail by contacting the CFP.

Q21. I need to renew my licence urgently before it expires and I don't have time to register and learn how to use the system. What can I do?

A21. The fastest way to have your licence renewal application received by the CFP is through the online tool. By submitting the form online your application is directly entered into the CFP database, instantly showing you have submitted a renewal and can maintain your current licence validity.

Users have been able to sign-up for IWS and create GC Key authentication since July 2013. Online renewals have been available for licence holders to learn to use since summer 2014. In addition, the Program provides notification of the need to renew at least 3 months in advance, to ensure that everyone has time to maintain current licence validity and privileges.

It is your responsibility to plan ahead to ensure that your requirement to renew is met prior to the licence expiry date.

Q22. What if the system is down? How will I ensure I get my license on time?

A22. You need to plan ahead to ensure that your licensing needs are met prior to the expiry of your firearms licence. If the system ever "goes down" it should not be long before it is "back up again". That said, should a technical issue occur, CFP can still process requests through a combination of e-mail, telephone, fax and paper forms, as required.

Q23. Can I renew my licence at any time or do I need to receive my renewal notification first?

A23. CFP has not changed its regulatory, policy or management requirements for the authorization and issuance of firearms licences.

As such, renewing your licence online is the same as renewing via paper form. You may choose to renew your licence at any time prior to expiry. The 5-year per

Example: Jon has a PAL with non-restricted privileges that expires April 1, 2015. He submits a renewal application in January 2014, more than a year before his licence is due to expire. Jon will be charged the full fee ($60.00) and his renewed licence will be valid 5 years up to his date of birth (April 1, 2019).

Q24. Is my licence renewed once I submit it online?

A24. No. The online renewals tool allows you to SUBMIT your application but it still must go through several stages of validation to ensure you remain qualified to maintain a valid licence and privileges.

You will receive a confirmation number to prove your renewal is in progress.

You may be contacted for additional information to process your renewal application.

Signing Up to Use the System

Q25. Is the system capable of conducting a high number of transactions or, like some other Government of Canada online services, will there be "peak times" when it can't handle everything?

A25. To date, the system has been able to handle a high number of transactions. We will continue to verify its capabilities as the system continues to evolve and is used by more and more users.

Q26. What do I need for signing up to use IWS?

A26. You need three things: a GCKey or Sign-In Partner user ID and password; your firearms licence number; and personal details (such as date of birth).

Q27. Why do I need a GCKey (or Sign-In Partner) user name and password?

A27. A GCKey user ID and password (or Sign-In Partner username and password) is a secure way for your computer to talk to the RCMP system. Without it the system security would not recognise you as a safe source.

Q28. Can I use the GCKey I already have to access the CFP online system?

A28. Yes.

Q29. What if I've lost my GCKey or forgot my GCKey password?

A29. If you have forgotten your GCKey password, use the 'forgot your password' function on the bottom of the login page. You will be prompted with the recovery questions you created to make a new password.

Alternately you may call GCKey Support at 1-855-438-1102. Customer Service Representatives are available to assist you by telephone, year round, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You will be asked the same questions to validate your identity before a new password is issued, so you should have the answers that you provided during the GCKey registration process ready.

If you have lost your GCKey user ID, you must sign up to get a new GCKey user ID and password.

Q30. How do I get a Sign-In Partner user name and password?

A30. Visit the SecureKey concierge website. Authenticating through Sign-in Partner services uses your existing online banking credentials.

Q31. The bank I do business with is not on the list of Sign-In Partners. How will I register and use the IWS system?

A31. You need to get a GCKey user ID and password. SecureKey concierge is a third-party vendor partnering with Government of Canada; if your financial institution has not signed up for the service there is nothing the CFP can do.

Q32. Why do I need a GC Key or Partner sign-in to use IWS? I didn't before.

A32. RCMP and the CFP must adapt to the changing environment of online security. Canada is not immune to increasingly sophisticated methods of cyberattack and GCKey (or Partner sign-in) ensures security and privacy for your CFP services.

When you register to use the system for the first time, you need to identify your GCKey or Sign-In Partner user ID and password to the licensing information that CFP has about you as a client. You will only need to register for a GCKey the first time you sign up the system.

Q33. I'm entering my personal details correctly but IWS tells me the information isn't right. How can I log in?

A33. Personal details must match information as it was captured from your licence application. Contact the CFP Client Support for assistance.

Q34. What is the difference between a GCKey and asking for my licence number and personal details?

A34. The CFP must provide two levels of security to protect your information. One satisfies Government of Canada requirements and the other RCMP requirements.

When you register to use the system for the first time, you need to identify your GCKey or Sign-In Partner user ID and password to the licensing information that CFP has about you as a client. You will only need to register for a GCKey the first time you sign up the system.

Q35. Why am I asked to update my profile with an e-mail address?

A35. Like individuals, businesses and other government services, the CFP is gradually transitioning from paper correspondence to electronic messaging like email. This is a cost-saving benefit to taxpayers, as well as providing a faster, easily available communication to clients. Email is virtually instant, especially as more and more clients use mobile devices to receive emails while on-the-go.

In the future the CFP will be able to offer clients the choice to e-mail vital updates and communications about your licence in a timely manner.

If you don't have an e-mail account, set one up by searching "free e-mail services" on the Internet.

Payments and Printing

Q36. My payment was refused. What do I do?

A36. If you are attempting to pay using a credit card, make sure you have entered the card information correctly. If your payment is refused again, call the toll-free number on the back of your card to make sure there are no issues with the card or credit. If this is not the issue, call CFP Client Support toll free at 1-800-731-4000.

Q37. I have a debit card from one of the banks that are registered for online debit card payments, and I am registered for online banking, but I can't get my payment to go through on the system. What's wrong?

A37. First, check to see if your card is a debit card, as these cards are not recognized through the Receiver General Buy Button payment process and cannot be used. If this is not the issue, call CFP Client Support toll free.

Q38. Can I pay other types of fees related to my firearms licence using IWS?

A38. No. Future service improvements are being planned to add this functionality, but at this time you may only pay for licence renewals online.

Contact the CFP for other types of payment.

Q39. How can I trust that the online payments are going to work?

A39. The Government of Canada has ensured the RGBB service meets the highest standards for security and privacy. This online payment service (Receiver General Buy Button) is commonly used by other federal Programs and agencies to accept online payments and securely store related payment information.

Q40. Why can't I open the document that I downloaded from the system to my computer?

A40. Documents downloaded from the system are in Portable Document Format (PDF). To access PDF files, you must have a PDF reader installed on your computer. There are many PDF readers available for free download or for purchase on the Internet, including:

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Foxit Reader
  • xPDF Reader
  • xPERT PDF reader

You may need to download and save the document on your computer (or a data storage device, such as a USB key) before you can print it. Different web browsers require different instructions but try 'right-clicking' a document hyperlink and select "save as".

Once you save the document to your device, open your PDF reader program, select File -> Open, find the document you just saved and open it.

Q41. I can't print a document from the system. What should I do?

A41. If you are able to save and open the document, but cannot print it, you may have a problem with your printer. Make sure the printer cable is properly plugged into your computer or that your wireless router is working properly if you have a wireless connection.

If you are still unable to print, you should either review your print manual or seek outside technical assistance

Q42. Can I simply store images from IWS (for example licence renewal or registration application confirmation) on an electronic device or on paper to have as proof of licence and registration?

A42. No. A valid licence card and hardcopy registration certificate (and any other required paperwork) remain the only valid documentation. You must physically produce these documents, when required, to be in compliance with the Act and Regulations.

Training and Assistance

Q43. What if I don't know how to use the Internet or a computer?

A43. Basic Internet skills are required to access and use the system. CFP is offering services online to fill the demand from Canadians who expect more, world-class business services available over the internet from all levels of government.

However if you prefer not to use the internet the option to submit a paper form or make queries or requests over the phone remains available to you.

Q44. Where can I get some help to learn how to use the system?

A44. IWS has extensive on screen instructions and online help files. Client support is also available to answer your questions or concerns.

Q45. Will Client Support personnel be able to answer questions about my licence or registration(s)?

A45. Yes, call agents are familiar with licensing processes as well as having access to the CFP database to answer general questions about your licence or registration(s). However, please note that for complex requests or problems, the agent may need to direct you to a regional Firearms Officer, the National Registry or research the issue before responding to your request or query.