Here’s a list of helpful answers to commonly asked questions. Don’t see the answer to your question? Contact us and we’ll get back to you.

I’m an American. Can I get a PAL?

Retrieved from RCMP’s website regarding foreign visitors (including American hunters) to Canada with firearms. Retrieved Oct 6, 2019:

Firearm Users Visiting Canada


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.

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.

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:


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.


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 Environment and Climate Change Canada:

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.

What are the current magazine restrictions?

From the RCMP’s Special Bulletin for Business #72 (retrieved Oct 2, 2019):

Maximum Permitted Magazine Capacity

Special Bulletin for Businesses No. 72


The maximum capacity of a cartridge magazine is set out in Part 4 of the Regulations Prescribing Certain Firearms and other Weapons, Components and Parts of Weapons, Accessories, Cartridge Magazines, Ammunition and Projectiles as Prohibited or Restricted.  The Regulations prescribe “prohibited devices”, and a magazine that has a capacity which exceeds the maximum permitted capacity is a prohibited device. Businesses can be in possession of prohibited devices if appropriately licensed.  However, individuals may not possess prohibited devices.    

The magazine regulations have been in force since 1993. However, in recent years, new cartridge magazines have been introduced which have resulted in novel situations as it concerns the application of the Regulations. There has been no change to the Regulations. Nonetheless, the application of the existing Regulations to a few new products has given the appearance of a change in the law. This has been particularly evident in the case of cartridge magazines designed or manufactured for more than one type of firearm.


The purpose of this bulletin is to provide greater clarity on the maximum permitted capacity of cartridge magazines designed or manufactured for use in more than one kind of firearm. Note that the maximum permitted capacity of a magazine is determined by the physical characteristics of the firearm it is designed or manufactured for and the type of ammunition for which it is designed. The maximum permitted capacity of the magazine does not depend on the classification of the firearm, nor does the magazine capacity influence the classification of the firearm.

Current Issues

1. Magazines designed or manufactured for both rimfire calibre rifles and handguns

Magazines designed to contain rimfire cartridges and designed or manufactured for use in a rifle do not have a regulated capacity. However, magazines designed to contain rimfire cartridges and designed or manufactured for use in a semiautomatic handgun are limited to 10 cartridges. Magazines designed or manufactured for use in both rifles and semiautomatic handguns are subject to the handgun limit of 10 cartridges.

Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 rifle and 15-22P pistol chambered for 22LR caliber:

  • the 10 round magazine is unregulated
  • the 25 round magazine is a prohibited device

Example 2*: The Ruger BX-25 magazine, chambered for 22 LR calibre, is designed and manufactured for use in the Ruger SR22 rifle, the 10/22 family of rifles/carbines and the 22 Charger handgun. As a result, this magazine is a prohibited device unless modified so its capacity is 10 cartridges or less. (*This information was not included in the original version of this bulletin, but was added on 2013-09-05.)


2. Magazines designed or manufactured for both centrefire calibre rifles and handguns

Magazines designed to contain centrefire cartridges and designed or manufactured for use in a semiautomatic rifle are limited to five cartridges. However, magazines designed to contain centrefire cartridges and designed or manufactured for use in a semiautomatic handgun are limited to 10 cartridges. Magazines designed or manufactured for use in both semiautomatic rifles and semiautomatic handguns are subject to the limit of five cartridges.

Hi-Point rifle and handgun chambered for 9mm Luger caliber:

  • magazine capacities over five rounds are prohibited.


3. Magazines designed or manufactured for both centrefire calibre semiautomatic rifles and other (non-semiautomatic) rifles

Magazines designed to contain centrefire cartridges and designed or manufactured for use in a semiautomatic rifle are limited to five cartridges. However, magazines designed to contain centrefire cartridges and designed or manufactured for use in a rifle other than a semiautomatic or automatic rifle, do not have a regulated capacity. Magazines that are designed or manufactured for use in both semiautomatic rifles and other (non-semiautomatic) rifles are subject to the semiautomatic rifle limit of five cartridges.

Remington model 7615 pump action rifle chambered for 223 Remington caliber:

  • the 10 round magazine is prohibited
  • the five round magazine is unregulated


4. Magazines designed for one firearm but used in a different firearm

The maximum permitted capacity of a magazine is determined by the kind of firearm it is designed or manufactured for use in and not the kind of firearm it might actually be used in. As a consequence, the maximum permitted capacity remains the same regardless of which firearm it might be used in.

The Marlin model 45 (Camp Carbine) rifle chambered for 45 Auto caliber uses magazines designed and manufactured for the Colt 1911 handgun, therefore the seven round and eight round capacities are permitted.


5. Magazines for semiautomatic handguns which contain more than ten (10) rounds of a different calibre

Magazines designed to contain centrefire cartridges and designed or manufactured for use in a semiautomatic handgun, are limited to 10 cartridges. The capacity is measured by the kind of cartridge the magazine was designed to contain. In some cases the magazine will be capable of containing more than 10 rounds of a different caliber; however that is not relevant in the determination of the maximum permitted capacity.

Heckler and Koch P7 pistol chambered for 9mm Luger caliber:
The magazine designed for the 40 S&W calibre variant of the pistol will hold 13 cartridges of 9mm Luger calibre and function in the 9mm Luger calibre P7 pistol. This is permissible as the maximum permitted capacity of the 40 S&W calibre magazine must be measured by the number of 40 S&W calibre cartridges it is capable of holding, which is 10 such cartridges in the case of the HK P7 pistol magazine.   

For more information, please contact the RCMP Canadian Firearms Program by one of the following methods:
telephone: 1 800-731-4000
web site: www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cfp-pcaf/index-eng.htm
e-mail: [email protected]

This bulletin is intended to provide general information only. For legal references, please refer to the Firearms Act, the Criminal Code and Regulations. Provincial, territorial and municipal laws, regulations and policies may also apply.

Can the CFSC PAL course be done online?

The Government of Canada mandates that all new shooters (or those without proof of a prior older license, such as a POL or FAC) are required to take in-person courses.

Hunter Safety provincial/territorial courses can usually be taken online, but to get your federal gun license in Canada you must complete the 8 classroom hours for Non-Restricted licenses, and 6 further hours past that prerequisite for the Restricted.

What could prevent me from getting my PAL?

Students need to ensure their own eligibility for the PAL/RPAL before registering for a course.

If a student were to come and take a course, and then send their forms in – and then be denied by the RCMP because for whatever reason it turns out that the student was ineligible all along – that situation would not be the instructor’s responsibility. The student does end up ultimately responsible for their own application once they leave the Non-Restricted Course or the Restricted Course, so it’s important to know if something might preclude you beforehand.

The instructors’ jobs are to deliver the course education, to deliver the testing, and to generally help with paperwork before students leave for the day. Once the course is over, the RCMP are responsible for processing gun license applications mailed in by students (the testing information is confirmed by instructor copies sent in separately).

The Canadian Firearms Program at the RCMP define reasons for PAL refusals or revocations as potentially extending to include: “a history of violence, mental illness, potential risk to oneself or others, unsafe firearm use and storage, drug offenses, and providing false information”. (RCMP-CFP, accessed Nov 5th, 2015)

If you’re still wondering about your eligibility, your best bet is to give a quick shout over to the RCMP’s Canadian Firearms Program before you register. They’re open weekdays, at 1-800-731-4000 during business hours.

What about language barriers?

Students need to complete the course and testing in English or French. RGSL’s courses are offered in both official languages. Though students may speak other languages, we are required to use either English or French only.

Students are not allowed to bring in electronic translators to the course. Students may not bring human translators. The expectation is that students will be able to communicate well at a firing line, where miscommunication can prove fatal. Consistent gun-range communication is important for safety!

Outside communication is prohibited, and using electronic devices is not allowed during the tests.

The RCMP, through RGSL, require that students have a good grasp on the English or French spoken and written language components before registering, as sometimes it’s difficult for RGSL instructors to translate more complex firearm concepts to students in real-time at the course itself.

All of our instructors primarily speak English, though some speak French as well.

What if I lose my forms after the course?

Update: RGSL now recommends students take a computer scan of their Course Report before sending the original to the RCMP so they keep a copy on file. Students have occasionally been reporting that their Course Reports have been lost in the mail, and scanning them protects against loss by keeping proof on file that you have passed the course.

“Course Report” JUS332 forms are issued to successful students who pass the Non-Restricted and/or Restricted courses. These act as proof that students passed the respective courses and have satisfied the written and practical testing requirements. They are the most important forms that students receive from RGSL!

If you misplace your Course Report forms, you might be in trouble depending on the circumstances. RGSL sometimes has students come in who have no choice but to re-take the course as a result of lost forms (it’s up to the discretion of the RCMP/CFP for your own situation). Some students have years-old Course Report forms that are able to be submitted and processed despite the passage of time.

Normally the process is such that RGSL will give the student their original to be mailed in with their PAL/RPAL application.
A second copy is sent to the student’s provincial or territorial Chief Firearms Officer.
A third copy is sent to the Canadian Firearms Program in Miramichi, New Brunswick, for federal processing.
A fourth copy is intended to be left in cold storage with the original instructor.

If you’ve misplaced your forms, your best bet is to call the Canadian Firearms Program at 1-800-731-4000 to ask them what course of action should be taken in your specific situation.

RGSL mails and stores forms in a timely fashion after courses, and so your best point of contact after the course is done is the CFP (RCMP).

Can I take my Restricted course before my Non-Restricted course?

No. Under rules given to us by the RCMP, students themselves are responsible for making sure they take the basic Non-Restricted course first, and then the Restricted course afterwards.

If you’re signing up for both courses at once, ensure that you select the Non-Restricted date ahead of the Restricted date.

RGSL will try to make sure we weed out students who have inadvertently signed up for the Restricted course first, but ultimately the responsibility for the RCMP application rests with the student.

Anyone who already has their Non-Restricted PAL (or Non-Restricted course completed) may then immediately take the Restricted course.

Are the firearms RGSL trains with “real guns”?

RGSL only uses guns which are “disabled”. That is, guns which are still legally considered to be firearms. That’s because if RGSL put firing pins back into them, they would function again – but without those pins, they’re disabled, and thus are safe for training – they cannot fire any ammunition at all.

RGSL also only uses inert or dummy ammunition. All our primers have been crushed, burned, removed or are otherwise absent. No explosive compounds are allowed on-site during courses for everyone’s safety.

Guns come in three different statuses in Canada – guns which are active (ready to load/fire now), disabled (could be made to fire again but aren’t functional at present) and deactivated (somebody has signed off on the destruction of an integral part – these guns are no longer “guns”).

I have firearms that I would like to dispose of. What should I do?

RGSL accepts donations of Non-Restricted and Restricted firearms, and in particular we look for firearms that may have educational value for our students. If you are the executor of an estate, or are in possession of firearms and would like them gone, please contact us and we will help you figure out a solution. We are often able to pick up the firearms themselves and are able to ensure safe, legal transport.

You are generally also able to turn in firearms for disposal at your local RCMP detachment. Please notify them in advance if you are planning to do so!

Where can I check the status of my PAL application with the RCMP?

You can reach the Canadian Firearms Program (who process the applications) at 1-800-731-4000 (Monday-Friday, 9AM-5PM nationwide). Alternatively, you can get the status online through the RCMP portal here.

Who is eligible to get their PAL/RPAL?

Any permanent resident or citizen of Canada 18 or over may apply for their PAL (and upgrade to an RPAL). Non-residents in Canada are also eligible to apply as well, however the RCMP may request a letter of good conduct from their home country (or other pertinent details) later on in the application process.

Those under 18 but at least 12 years old may apply for a Minor’s License which permits borrowing of Non-Restricted firearms for target practice, organized shooting competitions, hunting, and instruction in the use of firearms. A Minor’s License also permits the acquisition of ammunition, unless there is an age restriction under provincial or territorial law (generally stores won’t sell to minors in practice, though).

How old do I need to be to get my gun license (PAL)?

Non-Restricted and Restricted PALs are issued to adults aged 18-or-older. Minor’s Licenses are issued for those who are 12-17.

Those under 18 but at least 12 years old may apply for a Minor’s License which permits borrowing of Non-Restricted firearms only, for target practice, organized shooting competitions, hunting, and instruction in the use of firearms. A Minor’s License also permits the acquisition of ammunition, unless there is an age restriction under provincial or territorial law (generally stores won’t sell to minors in practice, though).

More information is available regarding firearms users younger than 18 at the RCMP’s website.

RGSL usually requires minors be accompanied by a parent also taking the Non-Restricted course – please contact us directly if this describes you. Minors should not take the Restricted course.

My firearms license (either my old PAL, POL or FAC) has expired and I want to make sure I’m legal once again. What should I do?

Generally speaking (most of the time), if you had an FAC but not a PAL, you need to complete the PAL requirements for licensing. We can help you with that. If you had a PAL and it expired, you can usually just send in an RCMP 5592 (PAL application form) and don’t need to re-submit the proof of safety courses. For more information, check out these RCMP frequently asked questions!

Calling the Canadian Firearms Program at 1-800-731-4000 (Monday-Friday, 8:30AM-4:30PM nationwide) will also help answer critical questions like this to help you sort out what you need.

I have a disability and cannot perform all the shooting positions demonstrated in the CFSC/CRFSC. Can I still take it?

Yes. We make accommodations during testing for those who may have bad legs, bad backs, or other disabilities. At RGSL, we treat every student with common sense, decency and courtesy.

While our private  classroom is not wheelchair-accessible (it’s on a lower level of the mall with no elevator), Cabela’s Regina and Cabela’s Saskatoon courses are made wheelchair-friendly and are accessible.

What are the CFSC/CRFSC course rules?

There are two major rules.

The first is that there are no outside ammunition/firearms allowed in the course. This is done for the safety and comfort of all our students, and to comply with instruction regulations.

The second rule is that you must not muzzle-sweep anybody to muzzle sweep somebody is to swing a gun around so that the dangerous end, for any amount of time, is pointed at a human. Beyond that, we know you’re there to learn and we try to keep things as common-sense as possible — we’re very understanding. Notably, we also want to respect any grounds used for the training.

What methods of payment do you accept?

Registration and payment for the CFSC and CRFSC courses is handled through our Online Registration Page using major credit cards.

We require a credit card as students reserve spots in courses; in the past students who were paying with cash or cheque would simply not show up for the course, leaving empty spots that would have been used by other people on gun-licensing wait lists.

RGSL is unable to accept any other form of payment at this time.

What firearms does RGSL use to help train people?

RGSL uses a variety of guns to help train people. Although the line-up might vary from day-to-day, here’s our current arsenal:

  • Girsan “Yavuz 16″/Beretta 92FS clone, chambered in 9x19mm. Made in Turkey, black finish, tactical rail, decocking lever, safety switch, loaded-chamber indicator
  • Glock 37, Gen. 3 pistol chambered in .45GAP. Made in Austria, has a laser sight and black finish
  • Charter Arms “Pathfinder” double-action revolver chambered in .22, dark/walnut grips with blued frame
  • Cimarron Firearms “Plinkster” single-action revolver chambered for .22LR, matte-black non-ferrous alloy frame
  • Marlin “Model 1936″ World War II lever-action rifle chambered in .30-30, with Pacific Coast Militia Rangers (Canadian military) markings
  • Lakefield “Mark II “bolt-action rifle, chambered in .22LR, walnut-stained, open sights
  • Ruger “10/22″ semi-automatic rifle, chambered in .22LR, wood stock with 4×20 scope and 10-round BX-10 magazine
  • Mossberg “715 Tactical Plinkster” semi-automatic rifle, chambered in .22LR, with ATI “AR-15 all-black” stock, red/green dot scope, pistol grip, and flash-suppressor
  • Norinco 12-gauge 3-inch-max “YL-12″/Ithica 37 pump-action shotgun
  • “Type 56″ Chinese military SKS semi-automatic rifle, chambered in 7.62x39mm Soviet, with aftermarket 6-position adjustable T6 TAPCO composite olive-drab stock and fixed bayonet
  • New England Firearms 20-gauge 3-inch-max “SB1 Pardner Youth” break-action shotgun
  • Traditions .50 caliber break-action “Vortek UltraLight” muzzleloader, with mossy oak treestand camouflage pattern, recoil pad and thumbhole stock
What is the difference between Non-Restricted and Restricted license designations?

The key difference is that a Non-Restricted license typically gives you access to firearms such as shotguns and most sporting rifles.

Sporting rifles refer to guns that can be used for hunting – Non-Restricted guns are the only classification that can be used for hunting and shooting at varmints where legally allowed.

Restricted and Prohibited level firearms need to be fired at designated target ranges. Prohibited class firearms and licenses are rare.

A Restricted license class gives you access to firearms such as handguns and certain semi-automatic rifles (such as AR-15’s) that have been classed Restricted by former Order-In-Council governmental actions. Minor’s Licenses do not permit individuals under 18 to possess any Restricted or Prohibited classes.

An individual must have a Non-Restricted license if they wish to get a Restricted license (but they may take the Non-Restricted course and then the Restricted course after that and submit the forms together – many of our students do this).

Non-Restricted = NR PAL, CFSC/Canadian Firearms Safety Course.

Restricted = RPAL, CRFSC/Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course.

Are there cases where I can apply for my PAL without RGSL?

Yes. If you took the Canadian Firearms Safety Course in the past you are usually eligible to apply for the Non-Restricted/Restricted PAL without taking the course again.

In order to so do, however, you must usually be able to verify that the RCMP have this on file before submitting a new application to the RCMP.

The best way to check is by calling the Canadian Firearms Program at 1-800-731-4000. Ask them if they can confirm that you have “proof on file” that you’ve passed already. If they don’t have proof on file, the RCMP will likely ask you to then complete the course and obtain proof-of-pass.

If you do have proof on file already, the RCMP on the phone with you can guide you through the application process without needing to take the course again.

How big are classes, and when are they offered?

Classes are usually limited to 12 people. This allows our instructors to focus on individual students and make sure the safety concepts are clear to everyone taking the course — so nobody gets left behind. If the date you want is full, don’t worry — we’re always opening up new courses!

All our upcoming courses are posted over at our Online Registration Page.

Do you need to take your hunter safety before getting your PAL?

No. The federal PAL course is separate and distinct from the provincial Saskatchewan Hunter Safety Course. Both are generally required to hunt with a firearm in Saskatchewan.

The easiest way to get your Saskatchewan Hunter Safety Course is usually by doing it over the internet and then writing the test in-person with a SAFE (Saskatchewan Association for Firearms Education) hunting instructor.

The PAL course cannot be taken online as there is a practical element of handling firearms that a screen, keyboard and mouse just can’t convey.

Gun laws are issued federally in Canada (one set of rules for all provinces and territories), while hunting laws are generally issued provincially (many different sets of regional rules).

RGSL does not train for the provincial Hunter Safety, but you can get it at HunterCourse.com. The process consists of an online learning component, followed up by an in-person written test and practical examination.

If I have a criminal record, can I get a gun license?

Sometimes you can still get your gun license even with a criminal record. The key is to make sure you disclose your record and the circumstances thereof on your application form’s addendum! The RCMP want the straight truthful story when screening every applicant/student.

If the RCMP see that it is a non-violent offense, they may process and approve the application. RGSL has seen students who have non-violent past offenses on their record apply who have successfully received their PAL.

With that said, the processing of your license is ultimately at the discretion of the RCMP. If you have questions about your eligibility, call the Canadian Firearms Program (during business hours on weekdays at 1-800-731-4000) to ask about the process they follow.


From Types of Criminal Background Checks, retrieved Oct 6, 2019:

Types of criminal background checks

Criminal record check

A criminal record check will determine if a person has been charged or convicted of a crime.There are two ways to check if you have a criminal history:

  • Name-based criminal record checks
    • Using names and dates of birth is the most common way to check a person’s criminal history.
    • Name-based criminal record checks are done checking against the RCMP’s Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) system. They consist of a check of the National Repository of Criminal Records based on a person’s name and date of birth. It may also include searches of other national and local databases.
    • Name-based checks have weaknesses in verifying a person’s identity due to some last names being the same, differences in spelling, use of nicknames, legal name changes and the intentional changing of names to avoid a record of criminal history.
  • Certified criminal record checks
    • When name-based criminal record checks do not provide a definite way of confirming a person’s identity, you may be asked to provide fingerprints. This is known as a “certified criminal record check.”
    • A fingerprint search of the National Repository of Criminal Records is conducted by RCMP’s Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services (CCRTIS).
    • A very small number of people have fingerprints that cannot be processed electronically. In these exceptional cases, the police service will submit a paper copy of your fingerprints.
    • The use of fingerprints for criminal record checks is based on informed consent and includes sharing the results of that information to a third party named by you on the application form.
    • The fingerprints submitted to CCRTIS for criminal record checks are only used to confirm your identity. At no time are fingerprints added to a database where they could be subject to search.

Police information check

It is also known as a police certificate, background check, record check, or reference check. Contact your local police to learn more.

Vulnerable sector check

Did you know?

  • It is an offence to conduct a vulnerable sector check if the position does not meet the requirements of the Criminal Records Act.
  • The hiring organization must make the request for a vulnerable sector check. The person being checked provides consent but does not make the request.
  • There is no federal legislation that requires any organization to conduct vulnerable sector checks. Contact your provincial or territorial government for more information.
  • Results of vulnerable sector checks are only made available to organizations located in Canada.

A vulnerable sector check is a police information check plus a check to see if a person has a record suspension (pardon) for sexual offences.

Vulnerable sector checks were created in 2000 to protect children and vulnerable persons and is governed by section 6.3(3) of the Criminal Records Act. Policies and procedures related to vulnerable sector checks can be found in the Dissemination of Criminal Record Information policy and the Ministerial Directive Concerning the Release of Criminal Record Information by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Questions concerning vulnerable sector checks should be directed to your local police service. In British Columbia, you should contact the British Columbia Criminal Records Review Program.

Working in the vulnerable sector

People who volunteer or have jobs where they are in positions of trust or authority over children or vulnerable persons can be asked to obtain a vulnerable sector check. Being in a position of trust or authority is more than just having contact with children or vulnerable persons. To meet the legal requirements for a vulnerable sector check, the nature of the position – not the person – must cause the person to have authority over, or trust of, children or vulnerable persons.

Children are defined as being anyone under the age of 18. Vulnerable persons are people who, because of their age, disability or other circumstance, are more vulnerable than others.

The decision to request a vulnerable sector check is made by the hiring company or volunteer organization. If they determine that a position is one of trust or authority over children or vulnerable persons, they can request that an applicant for the position obtain a vulnerable sector check. The person or organization responsible for children or vulnerable persons also decides how often a vulnerable sector check must be repeated.

Public Safety Canada’s The Screening Handbook, 2012 Edition provides organizations with guidance on what level of criminal record screening they require and how to determine their screening requirements.

Process for getting a vulnerable sector check

If you live in British Columbia, follow the process defined by the British Columbia Criminal Records Review Program. In all other cases, contact your local police service. You will be required to provide the police service with the following information:

  • A description of the position
  • The name of the organization staffing the position
  • Details about the children or vulnerable persons (e.g. age, or other factors that can show how the person is vulnerable)
  • If the position is volunteer, provide a letter from the organization stating the person will not be paid for services or any other personal expenses incurred.

Once the police service has determined that the position meets the requirements for a vulnerable sector check, a name based search will be conducted. In some cases you will be required to submit fingerprints to confirm your identity. The use of fingerprints ensures the accuracy of the identification process.

Once the vulnerable sector check is completed, the police service conducting the vulnerable sector check will send the results to the requesting organization.

The Criminal Records Act requires that vulnerable sector checks be conducted for individual positions. This means that if you are applying for different positions that require a vulnerable sector check, you may need to submit fingerprints for each of those individual positions.

Who conducts vulnerable sector checks

Vulnerable sector checks must be conducted by the local Canadian police service where an applicant lives. In British Columbia, the British Columbia Criminal Records Review Program is the authorized body for conducting vulnerable sector checks.

Denying vulnerable sector checks

The police service will use information submitted by the applicant to determine if the position meets the legal requirements to conduct a vulnerable sector check. If the position does not meet the requirements of the Criminal Records Act for a vulnerable sector check, it is illegal for the police service to conduct one.

The Criminal Records Act does not allow vulnerable sector checks to be conducted for the purpose of adoptions. However, based on other provisions in the Criminal Records Act, a local police service may request fingerprints in order to check if adoptive parents have record suspensions for sex offences. The RCMP strongly recommends that a check of local police records accompany any adoption request completed by Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services (CCRTIS).

Sources of information

Vulnerable sector checks include checks of national databases maintained by the RCMP and local police records where the applicant lives.

How much do the courses and testing cost?

Head on over to the Pricing page to check out whether you want to take the basic CFSC, or the more advanced CRFSC.

What if I fail a test?

The CFO requires that you wait a minimum of one week before re-doing the tests. We do everything possible to give you the tools to succeed, and our fail rate of students is under 1% for Firearms Safety Courses.

Usually, failing is for specific infractions such as pointing the firearm at a person or because a person wasn’t taking notes during the course.

If you do fail, we’ll sit down with you and discuss the best strategy to have you study up and engage in more learning before testing again.

If it does turn out that you need to take the course a second time, RGSL will charge you for that, however, the RCMP will not charge a second application fee.

Are the written and practical tests hard?

They are not exceedingly difficult at all, as long as students understand the key to success is to pay attention during study, to take good notes, and to have a good command of English-language written and spoken components coming into the course.

Generally, what’s on the test is going to be a lot of common sense, and it is important to note that the tests will be based only on what is covered during the day’s course.

The vast majority of our students pass the tests, but it is extremely important to pay attention to the information in the course — we have had people fail who did not understand the language well enough to test properly, some failed who were simply not paying attention, and others still have failed for more serious infractions such as pointing a training firearm at another person during the course.

RGSL uses inert firearms and dummy ammunition at all its courses.

What’s the difference between PAL, RPAL, POL and FAC gun licenses?

PAL is an acronym for Possession and Acquisition License. A Non-Restricted PAL will allow the license holder to both possess and acquire both firearms and ammunition. Since 1995, this has been the main, basic gun license in Canada. It is sometimes referred to as an NR PAL.

RPAL stands for Restricted PAL, an upgraded license class including handguns that are not otherwise prohibited, as well as short-barrel rifles and shotguns, and other firearms specified by the Criminal Code Regulations.

POL stands for Possession Only License. A POL historically allowed the license holder to possess (but not acquire more) existing firearms, and allowed the POL-holder to purchase ammunition. This license type is discontinued. Valid POL-holders as of September 2, 2015, automatically became PAL-holders that day under the new 2015 Firearms Act. If your POL expired before September 2, 2015, you may – at the RCMP’s discretion – need to recertify for your PAL in a classroom course.

FAC stands for Firearms Acquisition Certificate. This was Canada’s gun license between 1977 and 1995. They have now all expired and need to be replaced with a PAL.

Expired POL-holders must either apply for a PAL with the RCMP, or surrender their firearms to someone with a gun license (or the police), as firearm possession in that situation is technically illegal.

How will RGSL help me get my FAC/PAL?

An FAC (Firearms Acquisition Certificate) used to be the federal gun license in Canada, from 1977 until the year 2000. Starting in 2001, the PAL (Possession and Acquisition License) is what gun licenses were renamed, and they remain PAL’s to this day.

RGSL is pleased to offer people their gun license/PAL courses and testing, and we are always happy to help with the bundle of government forms that normally accompanies the entire process. We work closely with the Chief Firearms Officer’s office in Saskatchewan, and the federal Canadian Firearms Program with is the national RCMP program administering guns across the country.

Do I actually need a gun license? I thought the long gun registry was gone.

While Bill C-19 (An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act, 2012) eliminated the long gun registry, individuals still need a firearms license in order to lawfully possess/acquire both ammunition and firearms.

RGSL has seen many students in the past who “…just want to get legal”. We are happy to help with this process and RGSL supports lawful gun ownership in Canada.

If a person is found with firearms in Canada but does not have the appropriate license, they are likely to be charged with a criminal offence for that conduct.

Do I need to do anything to prepare for the course?

To get more out of the course, you can feel free to read through the Non-Restricted (CFSC) and Restricted (CRFSC) manuals available on our Downloads page in PDF form ahead of time.

As well, you can check out various forums across Canada such as Reddit’s /CanadaGuns.

I signed up for a course at RGSL. What do I need to bring with me?

We keep things simple. At all our courses, you’ll need:

1. A piece of federal identification such as your Canadian driver’s license, international passport of permanent residency card.

2. Any reading glasses you may require, as we’ll be taking notes for much of the day and will be doing things like identifying data stamps and ammunition cartridges.

Our courses are relatively long, and so please feel free to bring any cold/hot food and drinks in with you. If your course is at Cabela’s, they sell fudge and other food products. If your course is at our private classroom in Regina, there’s a Mac’s Convenience Store right next door.

At Restricted courses in particular, students need to be able to demonstrate that they have either passed the Non-Restricted testing or they must already have their Non-Restricted PAL. The RCMP will not issue a PAL to an individual who only has their Restricted course completed! Many students register for both a Non-Restricted CFSC course and a Restricted CRFSC course at the same time and then submit their paperwork all together at once.

How much do you charge?

Our most recent services and their respective prices are always available at the pricing page.

What do I need to make a group booking?

Contact us with your details, and we’ll do our best to see if arrangements can be made to get you sorted out for a group booking. Please be advised that we book in groups of between 8-to-12 students, well in advance (usually weeks out at a minimum).

Public courses are given priority for all weekends, and so group bookings are held on weekdays at our classroom in the River Heights Mall.

Pricing is the same as for public courses – minimum 8 participants are required.

Do you ever run courses during the week?

Generally RGSL only runs public courses on Saturdays and Sundays.

On weekdays, we do occasionally accept bookings (of 8 or more adults, minimum) for group bookings at our classroom in Regina.

Do you teach anyone under 18?

Non-Restricted and Restricted PALs are issued to adults aged 18-or-older. Minor’s Licenses are issued for those who are 12-17.

Those under 18 but at least 12 years old may apply for a Minor’s License which permits borrowing of Non-Restricted firearms only, for target practice, organized shooting competitions, hunting, and instruction in the use of firearms. A Minor’s License also permits the acquisition of ammunition, unless there is an age restriction under provincial or territorial law (generally stores won’t sell to minors in practice, though).

More information is available regarding firearms users younger than 18 at the RCMP’s website.

RGSL usually requires minors be accompanied by a parent also taking the Non-Restricted course – please contact us directly if this describes you. Minors should not take the Restricted course.

I sent my paperwork away to the RCMP a while ago and haven’t heard back. Who should I talk to?

Call the Canadian Firearms Program at 1-800-731-4000. Once your paperwork is complete with RGSL, we mail sections to different branches of the RCMP who then process for the forms. This can mean a wide range of times for a number of reasons, and they let RGSL know that they generally have more information once applications have hit the 90-day mark.

What’s the best way to get my Restricted if I already have my Non-Restricted?

Register for the CRFSC/RPAL upgrade course as your next action, provided that you already have the pre-requisite Non-Restricted portion completed.

That will help anyone who already has a Non-Restricted PAL (or has just completed the Non-Restricted CFSC course with us) upgrade to their Restricted PAL.

Many students submit their Non-Restricted and Restricted passing grades together to the RCMP for processing once they’ve completed the CFSC and CRFSC. It effectively ends up saving students $60 to send them both off for processing together at the same time.

Do you teach a Restricted-only course?

Yes. For those who already have their Non-Restricted PAL (or proof that they recently passed the CFSC course), our CRFSC course will upgrade you to the Restricted PAL.

If you have a Non-Restricted POL, this may not be considered adequate for the pre-requisite and a Non-Restricted PAL would be required.

Minors are not eligible for the Restricted course.

Are there still spots open in “X” upcoming course?

You can check to see if a course is marked as 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 or 0 spots left by heading either to the homepage or to Online Registration where a list of classes is maintained and updates automatically.

When you go to register spots using your credit card, a live readout will again tell you exactly how many spots are left in each class on the list. Classes that have 0 spots left in them will not be visible as you go through registration.

I still have some paperwork from a course in the past. Can I still send it in?

We have seen students send in their paperwork years after completing it, and the RCMP still processed it. It’s impossible to give this question a blanket answer as licensing is handled on a case-by-case basis federally.

If you are in doubt, call the Canadian Firearms Program at 1-800-731-4000 and follow their instructions.

We encourage students to take a digital copy of their “proof of pass” Course Report forms, which they receive when they pass testing. In the event that a student application is lost in the mail, this copy becomes very useful in proving the course was indeed taken.

When are the next courses?

Upcoming CFSC/CRFSC course dates are always on our homepage and also at our Online Registration page.

What happens if something comes up and I can’t make the course?

Sometimes RGSL cannot issue refunds: deadlines apply to drop out of a course for any reason (including health reasons).

Current policy, summarized: Refunds must be requested by email. Refunds are generally issued for any reason, in full, provided that RGSL is given 7 full days’ notice before the course by email. If a student requests a refund inside 7 days, but outside 72 hours, from the start of a course – a 50% refund is given. For registrations that occur within 72 hours of the start of a course, and for anyone who has to cancel or drop out within 72 hours from the start of a course, no refund or transfer to another class is given – but you are able to re-register at your convenience for a future course.

Often businesses that book in advance (such as for hotels, flights, or seminar courses) do require a minimum amount of notice be given.

RGSL must book spots in advance as most of our courses get a waitlist. Logistically, we also need to know in advance exactly how many students to expect in a given course to ensure the proper number of instructors are scheduled for work that day.

It’s important that during registration, students agree to and understand our Cancellation & Refund Policy for Firearms Safety Courses. For that reason we make sure students tick off boxes that show they’ve read and agree to these while they’re checking out on the Online Registration page, and we understand that sometimes nothing can be done but to re-book for the next course.

The more lead time you give us for cancellation, the more likely we are to be able to help.

What if I don’t have a credit card that I can use?

RGSL requires a credit card for all online courses. If you don’t have one, you are able to have a billing party register on your behalf with you named as a student. That can be done over at the Online Registration page. Prepaid credit cards will work and are another good option if you don’t have regular credit cards.