Federal firearms legislation and hunters

To obtain a possession and acquisition licence, you must be at least 18 years of age and must prove that you have completed and passed the required training course.

You must present your possession and acquisition licence if you wish to purchase or receive a firearm or ammunition. If you are a minor, you must present your minor’s licence.

To obtain an application form for a possession and acquisition licence, please call the Canadian Firearms Centre This hyperlink will open in a new window. or contact any Sûreté du Québec This hyperlink will open in a new window. office.

Many provisions of the Firearms Act  This hyperlink will open in a new window.apply directly to hunters. 

Summary of the main rules

Below is a summary of the main rules governing firearms used for hunting in the federal statute and its regulations.

It is prohibited to:

  • Point a firearm, loaded or unloaded, at another person without a lawful excuse.
  • Use, carry, handle, ship or store any firearm or ammunition in an ill-considered or reckless manner with respect to the life or safety of others, without lawful explanation.
  • Sell, exchange, give, transfer or deliver a firearm to a person, unless that person presents, for examination, his or her valid possession and acquisition licence. The person who sells or gives the firearm must also hold a valid licence and must inform the authorities of the transfer.
  • Become the owner of a firearm without being the holder of a valid possession and acquisition licence.
  • Lend a firearm to someone unless he or she produces, for scrutiny, his or her valid possession-only licence or a possession and acquisition licence authorizing him or her to possess this class of firearm.
  • Borrow a firearm without being the holder of a possession and acquisition licence authorizing you to possess this class of firearm, unless under the immediate supervision of the lawful lender.
  • Be in possession of a crossbow designed or altered to be fired by the action of one hand or a crossbow that has a length not exceeding 500 mm. This type of crossbow is a prohibited weapon.
  • Lend a firearm to a person who does not have a possession and acquisition licence, unless he or she is accompanied by and is under the direct and immediate supervision of the legal lender or owner.
  • Possess or handle a loaded firearm other than in a place where it is legally permitted to fire it.

Some high-capacity cartridge magazines are prohibited under the Criminal Code regulations, regardless of the class of firearm to which they belong. Most cartridge magazines designed for semi-automatic, centre-fire shoulder arms contain a maximum of five cartridges. There is no limit on the capacity of a cartridge magazine for semi-automatic rim-fire shoulder arms or other shoulder arms that are not semi-automatic.

Since January 1, 2001, non-residents must hold a firearm licence or a 60-day possession licence in order to borrow a firearm without restrictions.

Non-residents who enter Canada with their own firearms must have a customs declaration in lieu of the possession licence and registration certificate (fees apply). The customs declaration will allow its holder to buy ammunition.

The following provisions of the Storage, Display, Transportation and Handling of Firearms by Individuals Regulation This hyperlink will open in a new window. do not apply to individuals who use or handle firearms while hunting, where hunting is legal, or to individuals hunting at a given location on a vehicle, where it is legal to hunt from the vehicle and at that location (see the section entitled Vehicles, aircraft and boats).

Transporting a firearm

For the purposes of the three elements listed below, the Regulation defines a vehicle as “any conveyance that is used for transportation by water, land or air”. This definition therefore includes non-motorized vehicles.

  • When a firearm is transported between two hunting locations, in a vehicle or otherwise, it must be unloaded. However, a muzzle-loading firearm may be transported loaded if one of the following three elements has been removed:
    • the detonator in the shaft, any powder in the pan, or the firing cap or flint;
    • powder;
    • a bullet in the chamber.
  • When a firearm is transported in a vehicle that is not under the direct supervision of a person 18 years of age or older, or a person who holds a licence issued under the Firearms Act, it must be unloaded and stored in the trunk or another similar, securely locked compartment. If there is no such trunk or compartment, the firearm must be unloaded and out of sight, and the vehicle must be securely locked.
  • In remote wilderness areas, a firearm may be transported in a vehicle that does not lock and that has no trunk or other similar compartment and is not under the immediate supervision of a person 18 years of age or older, or the holder of a licence issued under the Firearms Act, provided the firearm is unloaded, out of sight and equipped with a locking safety device that prevents it from firing.

Storing a firearm

A firearm must be stored in compliance with the following three conditions:

  • It must be unloaded.
  • It must be equipped with a key or combination-operated locking safety mechanism that prevents the firearm from discharging, or must be made non-operational by taking off the bolt or recoil slide, or be kept in a locked container or room of strong enough construction to avoid being easily forced open. This condition does not apply if the firearm is stored in a remote wilderness area.
  • The firearm must not be kept close to ammunition unless the ammunition is stored with or without the firearm in a container or compartment that is kept locked and is of strong enough construction to avoid being easily forced open. This condition does not apply if the firearm is stored in a remote wilderness area.

Note: A wooded area located on the outskirts of a city or town is not deemed to be a wilderness area.

Displaying a firearm

A firearm that is displayed (showcased) must comply with the following conditions:

  • It must be unloaded.
  • It must be made non-operational using a key or combination-operated locking safety mechanism that prevents it from discharging, or must be kept under lock and key in a container, compartment or room that cannot easily be forced open.
  • The firearm must not be displayed with or near the ammunition that it can fire.

For additional information on firearms legislation in general, please consult the original text of the Firearms Act or contact the Canada Firearms Centre by calling 1 800 7314000. You may also contact any Sûreté du Québec office.

Municipal by-laws

Some municipalities restrict or completely prohibit the use of weapons, and others regulate the firing of weapons within their territory. Before hunting, please contact your municipality for information This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Act to protect persons with regard to activities involving firearms

The Québec government’s Act to protect persons with regard to activities involving firearms This hyperlink will open in a new window. applies to hunters. Among other things, it addresses the possession of firearms on the grounds and in the buildings of an educational institution or childcare centre, and on public transit or school transportation other than taxis. Hunters must therefore be aware of the legislative and regulatory provisions and abide by them.

For additional information, please contact any Sûreté du Québec office.

Safety first

Hunting is practised with weapons designed to kill game animals properly. These weapons must be handled very cautiously to reduce the risk of accidents. For example, the telescopic sight of a firearm should never be used to locate or identify a target. Binoculars, which are designed for this purpose, should be used instead.

Please remember that the most basic safety rule is never to point a firearm at another person, even from a distance. Pointing a firearm at someone is absolutely prohibited and may lead to prosecution.

Regulatory Information

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday: 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Free phone line: 1 844 523‑6738