What is a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL)?

While there are some places in the world that a licence is not required to obtain or own a firearm, Canada is not one of them. If you want to possess a firearm here in Canada, you’ll need to obtain a PAL, or Possession and Acquisition License formerly known as a Firearms Acquisition Certificate (FAC).

Obtaining a licence is not overly difficult but does require that you pass a criminal record check and have some basic firearm knowledge. Let’s talk a little more about the PAL and how you can go about obtaining one.

Three types of Firearm Licencing

In Canada, there are 3 different licencing types for firearms. These include:

Minors Firearms Licenses are, as you guessed it, for individuals under the age of 18 (but over the age of 12) who have a firearm for hunting purposes.

Possession Only Licenses are reserved for adults (over the age of 18) who wish to possess but do not care to operate a firearm. These licenses require an adult to pass a background check but don’t require them to have knowledge or proficiency in the safe handling of arms (because they are not being used).

If you wish to use a firearm in Canada, you’ll need to obtain your Possession and Acquisition Licence. 

Who can apply for PAL?

In order to apply for a Possession and Acquisition Licence, you must be 18 years of age or older. You must also complete the Canadian Firearms Safety Course. Depending on what type of firearm you wish to possess, you may also have to complete the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course. 

In addition to completing your safety course, anyone who wishes to apply for a PAL must also submit a criminal record and background check, as well as a reference check, passport-style photo, and processing fee. 

How long does it take to get a PAL?

The approximate wait time for a Possession and Acquisition Licence is 45 days. Licencing may not take this long to receive, but there is a minimum processing and wait time of 28 days. This mandatory waiting period begins at the time the request is submitted. 

How much does it cost to obtain a PAL?

Like any other type of licensing in Canada, Possession and Acquisition Licenses require you to pay a fee. These fees have been updated as of March 31, 2021, and range between $60 and $85.

These fees are subject to change over time and are dependent upon which type of licencing you require. You should expect to pay more for a restricted firearms licence than a non-restricted firearms licence. 

In conclusion, if you want to own or operate a firearm in Canada, you’ll need to obtain some type of licencing. Those who wish to own and operate a firearm as an adult need their PAL, or Possession and Acquisition Licence. Once received, this license must be renewed every 5 years. If you are caught with a firearm in your possession and do not have proper licencing, strict penalties may be enforced. 

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