The Types of Firearms Licences in Canada

Canadian Firearms Possession and Acquisition Licence

Under the new gun laws there are various levels of Firearms Licences. You need a licence to legally possess the firearms you already own, to acquire new ones, to purchase ammunition and to borrow firearms. If you possess a firearm without a licence, you are committing criminal offences punishable by up to 5 years in prison and your firearm will be subject to confiscation.

Possession Only (POL)

Changes to the Firearms Act in 2015 converted all existing unexpired POLs to PALs. This type of licence is no longer available.

Non-Restricted Long GunNon-Restricted Long Guns: Possession & Acquisition

If you have no interest in restricted firearms (e.g. many handguns, some military looking semi-automatic rifles) but you still wish to be able to acquire typical sporting long guns, you will need this Possession & Acquisition Licence (PAL).

You will be required to pass the Canadian Firearms Safety Course. The fee is about $60 for a 5 year licence. At present the processing time for this licence is typically a couple of months. You can download the licence application form here.

Restricted HandgunRestricted Firearms: Possession & Acquisition

This licence will allow you to purchase non-restricted and restricted firearms, plus any classes of prohibited firearms that you are eligible to acquire.

You must pass both the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course and the Canadian Firearms Safety Course. If you completed the original Canadian Firearms Safety Course Exam (the full one which included long guns and handguns) between 1993-1999, you should not have to write the current exams. The fee for this licence is about $80 for five years. Quebec residents need to bring a separate form to their local police when applying for this type of licence. These licences are available to Americans (or any foreigner) but they must meet the same conditions as Canadian citizens.

Minor's Firearms Licence

A minor's licence permits someone under the age of 18 to possess non-restricted firearms for the purposes of: target practice, competition, hunting, or instruction in the use of a firearm. The application forms for this type of licence can be obtained from the Chief Firearms Officer in your province as they are not available online.

Minors who are not sustenance hunters must take the Canadian Firearms Safety Course (CFSC) and pass the exam in order to get a possession licence. Minors who are sustenance hunters, just like any adult, may simply challenge the exam. Minors in Ontario who wish to hunt will want to check out the "One Stop Shopping" course which combines the Hunter Safety Course and the CFSC into one extended training session.

Canadian Firearms Safety Course Testing Prohibited Firearm in Canada Restricted Firearm in Canada