Determining the need for firearms

Researchers typically choose to use firearms because a regulator requires it or a hazard assessment identifies the need.


To be in possession of a firearm, a worker must have a possession license and must take a Canadian Firearms Safety course from a Certified Firearms Instructor. A Police background and securities check is required (can take up to 6 months). If the worker is not a Canadian Citizen, the check will take longer.

  • If traveling outside of Canada, research the laws of that country.
  • HSE can provide advice on developing your own training.
  • Supervisors are responsible for ensuring and monitoring the competency of workers who may use firearms. Competency can be achieved through training and supervision. Supervisors can develop and deliver their own training or use a third-party trainer.
  • Firearms create their own hazards. If supervisors have determined through their hazard assessment that firearms are an appropriate control, they must also assess and control related hazards such as theft, violence or accidental discharges, etc.
  • HSE recommends wherever possible that firearms be loaded with non-lethal rounds.
  • University governance over firearms includes the following:

Owned or Privately Owned Firearms

  • Protective Services stores and maintains some University-owned firearms for various departments.
  • Your Faculty Dean or Unit Director must authorize the use of departmental firearms while conducting research in the field. Make a request of Protective Services. (10 working days prior to when you require the firearm. Picture identification (driver's license or OneCard) and a valid Firearms Possession License is required
  • For use of a personal firearm for research, approval from Protective Services must be acquired.

Acquiring or Disposing of a Firearm

  • In order to acquire or dispose of a University-owned firearm, review the policy and applicable procedure.


  • Pursuant to University Firearms Policy, no ammunition is allowed anywhere on campus unless you have written permission from Protective Services.
  • Hand-loaded ammunition is not to be used. It is the user's responsibility to purchase factory ammunition that is designed to be fired in the firearm you are deploying in the field.


  • At all times, supervisors are responsible for ensuring that any firearms they have are safe for use. Supervisors must document the inspection and maintenance of their firearms.
  • In addition to the above, Protective Services will maintain University-owned firearms that they provide storage for.
  • Anyone using a privately owned firearm is responsible for the yearly maintenance of it and must ensure that it is in good working order.

Report any Firearms Incident

  • In case of a firearm incident (accidental discharge, injury or death to a person or non-research animal, property damage, theft of a firearm) report it to Protective Services by adhering to the Firearms Incident Reporting Procedure.