RCMP Says It Still Has 4-Month Delay Processing New Gun Licences

TheGunBlog.ca — The RCMP, which controls personal gun ownership in Canada, said it has a four-month delay processing new firearm licences, stuck with the same backlog as a year ago over slowdowns related to Covid-19.

Following are comments by Robin Percival, a spokesperson for the Ottawa-based Royal Canadian Mounted Police. She e-mailed them today in response to our questions last week about the licensing backlog at the RCMP Canadian Firearms Program (CFP).

Several readers have told us about having to wait much longer than they expected to get their first firearm Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL), or to renew an existing permit. It’s a crime to buy, sell, or have guns without a valid licence.

RCMP Q&A on Time to Process Gun Licences

Q1. How long is it taking to process new firearm-licence applications and renewals at the moment?

Due to measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP), like many other service providers in Canada, has experienced significant impacts to its services. Our processing site is currently operating at a reduced capacity, which has resulted in a four-month delay in the processing of new applications for a firearms licence.

The time required to process an application will vary depending on the level of completeness, and the information provided. In cases when incomplete applications are submitted, or when applications are submitted with erroneous information, clients will be contacted by the CFP to resolve any issues.

Please note that follow-up on an application that has missing or erroneous information, or requires further review will cause delays in overall processing times.

Q2. How is the backlog compared with the pre-COVID backlog, say of early 2020?

Prior to COVID, the processing time for a complete application, without errors, and not requiring further review was, on average, 35 days (for the period of July 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019). During that same time period, the processing time for a licence renewal was, on average, 17 days. 

Over a six-month period during COVID-19 (January 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021) the processing time for complete applications, without errors and not requiring further review, took an average of 61 days for a new licence, and 13 days for a renewal.

Q3. What steps are you taking to reduce the backlog?

The CFP continues to monitor the impacts of COVID-19 on our processing times. This allows us to align available resources and modify processes to mitigate the impacts.

Q4. Any other relevant info or context?

As we have mentioned previously, the CFP is developing a digital strategy to simplify and streamline the CFP’s services and improve service delivery. The goal is to create a modernized way of doing business, bringing the CFP’s services online. This will provide a better user experience for the CFP’s clients and its employees.