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How do the New Firearm Regulations Affect You?

New regulations effective May 18, 2022, require licensed firearm sellers to verify the buyer’s Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) and obtain permission from the RCMP Canadian Firearms Centre (CFC) before transferring one or more non-restricted firearms to the buyer.

  • As of May 18th, 2022, the Seller of a firearm MUST obtain a reference number from the CFC before a firearm is transferred to its buyer.

To obtain this reference number, you must:

  • Contact the CFC via 1-800-731-4000, or
  • Use the online portal for individuals if you are an individual, or
  • Use the online portal for businesses if you are transferring a firearm from a business to another business or to an individual

Both portals will operate 24×7, and are accessible through the RCMP’s Firearms Website:

The transfer Reference Number is valid for 90 days and is valid for all non-restricted firearms transferred from the seller to the buyer.

The transferor (the seller) requires a separate transfer Reference Number for each buyer.

The date of transfer or physical possession is the day the transferee (the buyer) takes possession of the firearm from the transferor (the seller) OR the date the transferor places the firearm in possession of a licensed shipping company.


Individual Sellers

Individuals are not required to keep records of sale.[i]

Taking a firearm to a storage place (gun store, gunsmith, etc.) is not a transfer under the new regulations. 

Businesses that store firearms must keep a record of all non-restricted firearms in its possession. This is separate and distinct from the transfer record-keeping requirements.


Business Vendors

For mail-order transfers, the buyer must provide the seller with images of both sides of their PAL, along with images of both sides of one other piece of government-issued photo ID.

For businesses, there is no obligation to save the ID images. The business must record the fact that both pieces of ID were seen, correctly identified the buyer, and the validity of the PAL was confirmed by the CFC. This information must be stored for a minimum of 20 years. The government has the option to require a longer period than is currently legislated.

Businesses must give the buyer a record of sale which includes the transferor, transferee, date of transfer, reference number, and the make, model and serial number of the firearm being transferred.

From the Gazetted Regulations

Information Relating to Transferee’s Licence

5 The prescribed information for the purpose of subsection 23(2) of the Act is the information set out on the front of the transferee’s licence, including the photograph.

6 For the purposes of the issuance of a reference number under section 23 of the Act, the transferor must

    • (a) confirm, when making a request referred to in paragraph 23(1)(b) of the Act to the Registrar, that they have taken reasonable steps to verify that the transferee is the holder of the licence, including
      • (i) in the case of a transfer that is completed in person, whether in whole or in part, by comparing the photograph on the licence with the person presenting themselves as the transferee, and
      • (ii) in all other cases,
        • (A) by using the method set out in paragraph (a), or
        • (B) if the comparison cannot be undertaken using that method, by comparing the information on the transferee’s licence with that on another piece of photo identification that has been issued by the Government of Canada or a provincial or municipal government; and
    • (b) provide the Registrar with
      • (i) the transferee’s licence number, and
      • (ii) any other information requested by the Registrar.


Gun Shows

The web portal operates 24×7, so gun shows will continue to operate much as they have already, with the added requirement of obtaining a reference number for each transfer made at the gun show through the online portal. An internet connection is required to access the online portal.

The transfer Reference Number is valid for 90 days for all non-restricted firearms transferred from the seller to the buyer.


Once a Transfer Reference Number is Issued

Once a reference number is issued, there is no requirement to notify the CFC the transfer took place.

For example, in a private sale the proposed buyer provides the required information to the proposed seller, who uses that information to obtain the transfer reference number from the CFC.  That reference number remains valid for 90 days between the buyer and seller, even if that specific firearm is not transferred.


Firearm Lending

Section 21 of the Firearms Act states: [ii]

For the purposes of sections 22 to 32, transfer means sell, barter or give.

Section 22 of the Firearms Act states:[iii]

A person may transfer or lend a firearm to an individual only if the person has no reason to believe that the individual

(a) has a mental illness that makes it desirable, in the interests of the safety of that individual or any other person, that the individual not possess a firearm; or

(b) is impaired by alcohol or a drug.

Lending is not considered a transfer by the Firearms Act, therefore a transfer reference number is not required under the new regulations.

Does this mean anti-gun activists will now call for this so-called “loophole” to be closed?  Probably, even though lending was intentionally kept out of the definition of “transfer” in the Firearms Act.


Gunsmiths and Storage

Taking a firearm to a gunsmith for repair and/or modification is NOT a transfer under these regulations


Estate Firearm Sales

For estate firearm sales it gets a little more complicated because a Possession and Acquisition License is invalidated the moment the individual passed away.

To transfer firearms from an estate to another licensed firearm owner, the executor must call the Canadian Firearm Centre at 1-800-731-4000 and make arrangements through them.


The RCMP’s Notice to Businesses of New Firearm Regulations

Effective May 18, 2022:[iv]

(1) The business must record and, for a period of 20 years beginning on the day on which the record is created, keep the following information relating to the business’ possession and disposal of all non-restricted firearms:

(a) the classification of the firearm;

(b) the date and an indication of any business activity related to the possession or the disposal of the firearm, including, if applicable, its purchase, sale, bartering, gifting, consignment, importation, exportation, repair, alteration, deactivation, destruction, manufacture, pawn broking, storage and display;

(c) the firearm’s manufacturer, make, model, type, action, gauge or calibre, barrel length and, in the case of a fixed magazine, magazine capacity;

(d) all serial numbers displayed on the firearm’s frame or receiver;

(e) the name and address of the individual or business to which the firearm was sent, or from which the firearm was received, in the course of any business activity referred to in paragraph (b) other than an activity that relates to a transfer of the firearm, if applicable; and,

(f) if the business caused the firearm to be shipped by another person, the name of the shipper or carrier, their licence number or permit number, if applicable, and the package tracking number of the shipped firearm.

(2) The business must record and, for a period of 20 years from the day on which the business transfers a non-restricted firearm, keep the following information in respect of the transfer:

(a) the reference number issued by the Registrar;

(b) the day on which the reference number was issued;

(c) the transferee’s licence number; and

(d) the firearm’s make, model and type and, if any, its serial number.

(3) The business must, unless otherwise directed by a chief firearms officer, transmit any records containing the information referred to at conditions (1) or (2) above to the Registrar of Firearms if it is determined that the business will cease to be a business.









[iii] ibid

[iv] RCMP Email to Firearm Business License Holders

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