1. How do you get a firearms licence?
In short, you take the CFSC course and submit a PAL application to the Canadian Firearms Program. This short video from the website howtogetagun.ca will answer many of the questions you have about the process of buying a firearm in Canada. The website has has even more detailed information about the complete process. Bear in mind that some of the information contained varies from province to province.
2. Why take the CFSC or CRFSC course?
The Firearms Act requires that individuals wishing to acquire non-restricted firearms must take the Canadian Firearms Safety Course (CFSC) and pass the tests in order to apply for you PAL firearms licence.
Individuals over 18 years of age who wish to acquire restricted firearms must also take the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course (CRFSC) and pass the tests.
3. Can you “challenge” or take the exams without attending the CFSC or CRFSC course?
No. There used to be an option to “challenge” the written and practical exams. However, this option was removed in 2015 when Bill C42 was passed. This legislation removed new PAL applicants’ ability to “challenge” either the CFSC or the CRFSC exams without attending the CFSC or CRFSC course. Prior to this legislation, you were able to complete the written and practical exams without attending the safety course.
4. Do I need to retake the CFSC course?
Probably not. If you have taken the CFSC course before, those CFSC course results do not expire:
- If you have taken the course a long time ago (even as a minor), and applied for a PAL licence (but never finished the application for some reason), or took the course and possessed a valid PAL but let it expire, your course results are likely still on file with the Canadian Firearms Program and that means you can go ahead and submit your PAL application form right away. If you are not sure, you can confirm these results are on file by calling 1-800-731-4000.
- If you have taken the course a long time ago and never applied for your PAL afterwards, the Canadian Firearms Program will not have a your course results on file. You will need a copy of your course results to submit with your application. If you have lost the paperwork – you will need to take the course again. However, if you have a copy of your course results, that means you can go ahead and submit your PAL application form right away.
5. Can I take the CFSC course in another province?
Yes. The CFSC is a federal course. It does not matter what province you take it in. Many students travel from Quebec to take the course with us in here in Ontario.
6. What do I need to bring to the PAL course or RPAL course?
- It is strongly recommended, that you obtain a copy of the PAL/RPAL course handbook and read the handbook before attending the course. (Click here for how to obtain one).
- Ensure you bring proper government issued photo identification.
- If you are a minor (below 18 years old) ensure that you have a Parental Consent Form filled out and signed by your parent or guardian.
- It is strongly recommended that you bring a lunch. Lunch breaks are 30 minutes long.
- A pen to fill out paper work and exams.
7. How can I prepare myself for the course?
Go here to find some tips on preparing for the CFSC and CRFSC course and exams.
8. What government issued identification is accepted?
Students must show appropriate identification when attending the PAL Course (CFSC) / RPAL Course (CRFSC) courses or examinations. Acceptable Photo Identification is:
- Any recognized government identification (Military, Ministry etc.)
- Passport (any Country)
- Driver’s Licence (any province)
- Ontario Photo Card (or other government-issued provincial photo identification)
- A letter from the bishop of the Mennonite community can also be accepted as identification. A copy of the letter shall be submitted to the PAL course instructor.
9. How old do you have to be to take the PAL course (CFSC)?
MInor’s must be 12 years old in order to attend the PAL course (CFSC) or the RPAL Course (CRFSC); however, minors taking the courses must provide written consent from a parent or legal guardian in advance of the course delivery. The instructor can provide a copy of the Minor Consent Form to the parent or guardian prior to course commencement.
Parents are permitted to accompany minors during delivery the PAL course (CFSC) or the RPAL Course (CRFSC); however, they are not permitted to be present during the written or practical examination unless required for an accommodation identified in advance of the course. Parents accompanying minors are not permitted to participate in the course and shall not handle firearms at any time during the course or examinations.
10. What is a Minor’s Licence?
A minor’s licence authorizes an individual who is between the ages of 12 ad 18 years old to possess a firearm for the purpose of target practice, hunting or instruction in the use of firearms or taking part in an organized competition.
The licence expires on the day that the minor turns 18. It is recommended that the minor applies for their adult PAL 6 months before their 18th birthday to prevent any lapse. The CFSC course results from when they took the course as a minor are still valid for their adult PAL application.
11. Can Minor’s take the RPAL Course ( CRFSC )?
Minors are permitted to take the CRFSC with written consent from their parent or legal guardian, provided they have successfully completed the CFSC. The written consent must be provided in advance of course delivery. As a Minor’s Licence does not include restricted privileges, participation in the CRFSC is for education purposes only and minors shall not be permitted to complete the written or practical examination for the CRFSC.
Minors who wish to obtain a PAL with restricted privileges (RPAL licence) must retake the CRFSC and pass the written and practical examinations once they turn 18.
12. Identification for Minor’s:
Proper Photo Identification can be more difficult for minors to provide. Acceptable Identification for for students under the age of 18 (Minors) without any of the identification listed above for the CFSC/CRFSC course report and examination forms are:
- Birth Certificate and a valid School Photo ID.
- Birth Certificate and the Parent or Guardian acceptable government identification as per the listed accepted Photo ID above.
13. Do you offer training for private groups?
Yes, we offer private courses for a minimum of 5 students to a maximum of 12 students, depending on the availability of the course instructor. Contact us at OttawaFirearmSafety@gmail.com to discuss running a private course.
14. How can I get a Student Handbook/Study Manual?
It is strongly recommended that you purchase or download manuals (for free) in advance of their course(s) so they have time to read or review the material prior to attending the course.
Study manuals can be downloaded for free on-line at:
The manuals can also be purchased from the Firearms Safety Education Service of Ontario (FSESO) by calling toll free 1-877-322-2345. Just remember that you must do so at least 10 days in advance of the course in order to receive it in time. The cost of a hard copy is $21.
15. What happens after I take the course?
After you have passed the PAL Course (CFSC) and/or RPAL Course (RPAL), your instructor will send your course and exam results to the Firearm Safety Education Service of Ontario (FSESO) for validation. This process takes 4-6 weeks (it has been taking ~2 weeks recently). The FSESO will send you your results when they have been validated. Once you receive your results you send your results with your PAL Application to the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP).
16. How long does it take to get my PAL licence?
It takes a minimum of 2-3 months to obtain your firearms licence.
17. Can I apply for my PAL licence ONLINE to reduce processing delays?
Yes, as of November 14th, 2022, you can now apply for PAL licence for the first time ONLINE!
After completing the Canadian Firearms Safety Course and exams, and subsequently receiving your results in the mail, the next step in the process of obtaining your Possession Acquisition Licence (PAL) is to fill out the application through the RCMP Canadian Firearm Program website:
18. How can I provide feedback about my instructor or course?
We are constantly looking for ways to improve our courses and course delivery and we welcome student feedback at this site.
If you would like to provide feedback to the RCMP Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) regarding your PAL Course (CFSC) or RPAL Course (CRFSC) training experience, we welcome you to contact them at: CFO_Program-Programme_CAF@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.
You may also provide feedback to the Firearms Safety Education Service of Ontario (FSESO) by:
Telephone: 1-877-322-2345 x101
3 Progress Dr. Unit 2,
Orillia, ON L3V 0T7
19. What are the acronyms ACTS and PROVE?
These are an essential part of firearm safety and more about this can be found here.