TheGunBlog.ca — The RCMP, which manages gun licensing in Canada, said it has “no backlog” processing applications for the firearm Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) after clearing months of delays related to Covid-19.
Update 08 August 2023: Several PAL holders across Canada have told TheGunBlog.ca they’ve had to wait six months or more for their licence renewals.
Update 27 February 2023: Several PAL applicants and instructors disputed the RCMP’s claim.
Kim Chamberland, a spokesperson for the Ottawa-based Royal Canadian Mounted Police, e-mailed the following statement to TheGunBlog.ca today in response to our questions sent February 17.
- We asked about the delay and backlog on new PAL applications and renewals.
- We asked after receiving reports from across Canada of applicants waiting more than 12 months to get their licence cards.
RCMP Responds to TheGunBlog.ca
The Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) was not immune to the pandemic; like other service providers, it did experience delays. However, at present, there is no backlog in the processing of Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) applications. The CFP is meeting its service standard to provide an initial review of PAL applications within 35 calendar days of receiving the application. The CFP monitors processing times closely to align resources and modify processes as needed to meet the service standard. It does not anticipate a backlog in future. The time required to process a PAL application may vary. The CFP and a Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) may take time in normal circumstances to review an application, for example, the application may be incomplete or an investigation may be needed to assess public safety risk, which is paramount. CFOs decide whether to issue a licence on a case-by-case basis based on an assessment of risk. The CFP will contact clients if they submit incomplete information to limit the delay in processing the application. The CFP is moving more services on-line to better serve its clients — in a way that is modern, efficient, simple, and strengthens public safety.Source: RCMP, Response to TheGunBlog.ca, 27 February 2023
RCMP Deletes Covid-19 Notice
Last week, following our info request, the RCMP Canadian Firearms Program updated its homepage to delete a notice on Covid-19-related delays. (Archive.org has the archived homepage and notice.)
- The update marked at least the fifth time the RCMP CFP has edited, corrected, or overhauled its website following questions or reports by TheGunBlog.ca.
Update: Readers Dispute RCMP Statement
- Update: After we published this report, readers told us they or their spouses have waited far beyond 35 days to receive their PAL cards from when their renewal payment was charged.