Harper Government announces new provisions of the Common Sense Firearms Licencing Act are coming into force

July 31, 2015
Ottawa, Ontario
Public Safety Canada

Today, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Steven Blaney, announced the coming into force of two additional provisions under the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act.

Effective September 2, 2015, these changes to the Firearms Act will come into force:

  • The elimination of the Possession Only Licence (POL) and conversion of all existing POLs to Possession and Acquisition Licences (PALs); and
  • The Authorization to Transport (ATT) becoming a condition of a licence for certain routine and lawful activities.

The elimination of the POL and conversion of all existing POLs to PALs simplifies the firearms licencing regime by eliminating one type of licence for adults. Specifically, it provides the roughly 530,000 holders of Possession Only Licences (POL) with acquisition privileges, formerly reserved for Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) holders. POL holders will be authorized to acquire the types of firearms they are currently authorized to possess. The conversion of existing POLs to PALs will happen automatically with no action required by holders of valid POLs.

Currently, firearms owners apply to a Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) when they wish to transport restricted and prohibited firearms, and they carry the ATT as a separate document. The changes to the ATT provision mean that an ATT will be automatically attached as a condition on a licence. Therefore licence holders will no longer have to apply separately in order to transport those firearms to certain routine activities such as target shooting; taking a firearm home after a transfer; going to a gunsmith, gun show, a Canadian port of exit or a peace officer or a CFO for verification, registration or disposal.

Quick Facts

  • Authorizations to Transport are not required for non-restricted firearms.
  • These two additional provisions are now added to the ones that came into force last June under the Firearms Act and the Criminal Code to do the following:
    • Make classroom participation in firearms safety courses mandatory for first-time licence applicants;
    • Clarify that the discretionary authority of Chief Firearms Officers is subject to the regulations;
    • Strengthen the Criminal Code provisions relating to orders prohibiting the possession of firearms where a person is convicted of an offence involving domestic violence; and
    • Provide the Governor in Council with the authority to prescribe firearms to be non-restricted or restricted (such prescribing would be informed by independent expert advice).