Getting a Possession and Acquisition License (PAL)
This article is about how to go about getting your Canadian Possession and Acquisition license (also known as a PAL), which is required for purchasing and owning any guns and firearms in Canada.
Before applying for a PAL, you have to take and pass the Canadian Firearms Safety Course (CFSC). I have written an earlier article specifically on the CFSC, so you can read more about the course there.
When your course is completed, you will get the paperwork to apply for the PAL but you can't apply right away. You have to include your certificate proving you took the CFSC and that actually comes to you by mail, NOT at the end of the course. It takes a few weeks for that to be returned to you. Once you have your course papers, then you can submit your PAL application.
The application is pretty extensive, and will require a few other signatures besides your own. You'll need to provide your address and contact information, as well as contact details for 2 other references who have known you personally for at least 3 years. If you are married, you are required to have your spouse sign as well, though a spouse CANNOT be a reference.
A headshot photo is also included in your application. A passport-type photo will work, though I got mine at a photo booth at the local mall (at the suggestion of my CFSC course instructor). It was a bit smaller than the guideliness said, but it was accepted just fine. You will have to have someone sign the back of the picture and your application, confirmnig that the photo is actually of you. You can get one of your earlier references to do that, it doesn't need to be a new person.
Aside from all the references and signatures, you also have to answer some questions about your criminal record and state of mind (history of emotional breakdowns, or depression). You also need to include your fee. At the end of 2008 (when I wrote this article) the cost was $60. And don't forget the papers proving you took the safety course. Send the originals, and keep a copy for your own records.
That's about it. Not too bad, eh?
I neglected to take note of when I got my course paperwork, and how long it took to get my permit after mailing in the application. Shame on me, but I took my CFSC at the end of September and got my PAL card at the end of December. So overall, the whole process took about 2 months. Roughly a month to get the course papers back, and another month for the actual PAL. It took me around a week in the middle to get my reference signatures together.