National Online Licensing System - Frequently asked questions

Table of Contents

General questions

Do I need to use the National Online Licensing System?

The National Online Licensing System is used by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to issue commercial and commercial-communal fishing licences nationally, as well as recreational fishing licences in Eastern Canada (Atlantic Canada and Quebec). Where applicable, the system is also used to issue fisher registration cards (including crew members).

All standard licensing transactions are available through the online system, replacing payment, request, and renewal services previously offered over-the-counter by DFO.

What can I do on the system?

The system is designed to help fish harvesters and other users including Organizations complete licensing transactions using a computer with Internet access. You will be able to perform all standard licensing transactions using the system. These include:

  • renewing licences and paying licence fees, as well as renewing vessel registrations
  • submitting licensing requests (such as vessel transfers) and checking the status of requests
  • printing licences, licence conditions, and other licensing documents
  • updating personal information, such as adding an e-mail address
  • appointing representatives to perform licensing transactions on your behalf

Does the system apply to recreational fishing licences in British Columbia?

No. Recreational fishing licences in British Columbia can be obtained via the National Recreational Licensing System.

What should I do if my licensing business cannot be done through the system?

All standard licensing transactions can be completed online via the National Online Licensing System. It is important to first be registered on the system. If the request type you are looking for is not listed in the drop-down menu, then select "Licensing Services Not Listed Above" and provide information in the comments box about the request you wish to submit. Refer to the user training manual for more information.

Additional support is in place to help you register and use the system and to answer your inquiries.

Will the Department continue to send me licence renewal reminders, licence conditions and/or other licensing documents by mail?

No. These documents will be available in your account on the National Online Licensing System for you to review and print. DFO will e-mail you when new information is available in your account. The Department may also continue to mail you other types of information.

I need to renew my licence but I don't have the Internet. What do I do?

Public access to the Internet, computer terminals, and printers is available at public libraries and at other locations. Some Service Canada centres also have computer terminals with Internet access to Government of Canada websites, including the National Online Licensing System. Call 1-877-535-7307 to find out if your community or a neighboring community has access to the Internet.

Once you have registered on the system for the first time, you may also appoint a representative to manage some or all licensing transactions on your behalf. This includes renewing your licence(s), paying the associated fees, submitting requests and printing documents.

A representative could be a family member, friend, colleague or any other trusted individual you would like to appoint to conduct business on your behalf. Refer to the "Appointing a Representative" section for more information about this option.

What if I don't know how to use the Internet or a computer?

Basic Internet skills are required to access and use the system. Once you have registered on the system for the first time, you may also appoint a representative to handle licensing transactions on your behalf. A representative could be a family member, friend, colleague or any other trusted individual you would like to appoint to conduct business on your behalf. This includes renewing your licence, making licensing requests, paying the associated fees, and printing documents. Refer to the "Appointing a Representative" section for more information about this option.

What if the system is down? How will I ensure I get my licence on time?

You need to plan ahead to ensure that your licensing needs are met prior to the next fishing season. If the system ever "goes down," it should not be long before it is "back up again." That being said, should a major technical issue occur, DFO will process requests through a combination of e-mail, telephone, fax, and in-person service, as required. Additional support is in place if you run into any issues.

Would the Department consider issuing all of the licences at the same time so we don't have to use this system several times each year?

DFO has not changed its regulatory, policy or management requirements for the authorization and issuance of fishing licences. As such, not all licences are ready to issue at the same time.

Is the system capable of conducting a high number of transactions or, as with some other Government of Canada online services, will there be "peak times" when it can't handle everything?

The system is designed to handle a high number of transactions. We will continue to monitor and ensure "peak time" capacity as the use of the system increases.

Creating account

How do I create my DFO profile online if it is my first time using the system?

If you have never created an online DFO profile and wish to do so, either for your personal use, to act as a representative, or to act on behalf of an Organization, you will need to access the National Online Licensing System. You will then need to follow instructions to create a GCKey Username and password and, then self-register with the licensing system. Refer to the user training manual for more information.

What do I need to register to use the National Online Licensing System?

Two things are required:

  1. A GCKey or Sign-In Partner user ID and password
  2. An e-mail address

You may also wish to have a paper and pen on hand to write down important information during the registration process. Refer to our user training manual to help you with the registration process. You may also refer to the video tutorial "Getting your GCKey" for assistance with this process.

Why do I need to use a GCKey or Sign-In Partner login information?

A GCKey Username and password (or Sign-In Partner login information) is a secure way for the DFO to recognize the identity of a person using the system.

Can I use the GCKey I already have to access the online licensing system?

Yes.

How do I use Sign-In Partner login information?

Visit the SecureKey Concierge website. This option will allow you to log in to the National Online Licensing System with login information that you may already be using for an online system, such as for online banking. At present, SecureKey Concierge has ten banking partners: TD Canada Trust, BMO Financial Group, Choice Rewards, Tangerine, Caisses populaires acadiennes, Caisses populaire, Royal Bank, Desjardins, CIBC and Scotiabank.

The bank I do business with is not on the list of Sign-In Partners. How will I register and use the system?

You need to get a GCKey user ID and password. Refer to the "Getting your GCKey" section or our video tutorial if you need help with this process.

I received a letter in the mail with my DFO passcode but never used it. What do I do?

All DFO passcodes expire if unused. Contact us to request a new DFO passcode if that is the case.

Why do I need an e-mail address?

You need an e-mail address when you register on the system so the Department can e-mail you when you have a message on the system. If you don't have an e-mail account, you can set one up, for instance by searching "e-mail services" on the Internet.

Forgot or lost login

What if I've lost my GCKey file?

You must register again to get a new GCKey user ID and password. You must also contact us to be provided with a new DFO passcode to be able to connect your new GCKey user ID and password to your National Online Licensing System account.

What if I've forgotten my GCKey password?

Contact GCKey Support. Customer Service representatives are available to assist you by telephone. You will be asked questions to validate your identity before a new password is issued, so you need to have on hand the answers that you provided during the GCKey registration process.

What do I do if I have lost my DFO passcode?

Contact us to request a new DFO passcode.

What is the difference between a GCKey and the DFO passcode?

A GCKey user ID and password is a secure way for the Department to recognize the identity of a person using the system. A DFO Passcode is used to recover your National Online Licensing System profile.

Payments

How can I pay online?

There are three methods of online payment. You can pay via the National Online Licensing System, either by credit card (Visa, Master Card, American Express) using the Receiver General Buy Button or by using Interac Online through the Receiver General Buy Button if you are using one of the six currently registered banks that offers this service:

  • Bank of Montreal
  • Royal Bank
  • Scotiabank
  • TD Bank
  • Envision Financial
  • Libro Credit Union

Finally, you may also pay online through your own registered banking institution.

Can I make a payment in person at the bank?

Some banking institutions will assist customers on site with setting up online banking arrangements and electronic transfer of funds to designated payees such as DFO. Please contact your banking institution should you wish to obtain further information and discuss the possibility of using this option to meet your needs.

My payment was refused. What do I do?

If you are attempting to pay using a credit card, make sure you have entered the card information correctly. If your payment is refused again, call the toll-free number on the back of your card to make sure there are no issues with the card or credit. Contact us if this is not the issue.

I have a debit card from one of the banks that are registered for online debit card payments, and I am registered for online banking, but I can't get my payment to go through on the system. What's wrong?

First, check to see if your debit card is a Visa debit card, as these cards are not recognized through the Receiver General Buy Button payment process and cannot be used. Contact us if this is not the case.

To make a payment using Interac Online, you must first be registered with Bank of Montreal, Royal Bank, Scotiabank, TD Bank, Envision Financial, or Libro Credit Union as these are the only banking institutions presently registered for Interac Online payments made through the Receiver General Buy Button.

Can I pay the fees to fish in more than one fishery at the same time using the system?

Yes.

How can I trust that the online payments are going to work?

The system's online payment options are commonly used by other federal departments and agencies to accept online payments and securely store related payment information.

Printing

Why can't I open the document that I downloaded from the system to my computer?

Documents downloaded from the system are in Portable Document Format (PDF). To access PDF files, you must have a PDF reader installed on your computer. There are many PDF readers available for free download or for purchase on the Internet.

Which documents do I need to print?

You will need to print your fishing licence and other licensing documents when these documents have been added to your account.

You will also need to print a copy of any invoices and attach them to the Transaction Statement that you receive after making your payment.

Internet access at libraries and other public locations with computer access typically includes printing services for a small fee. As well, documents saved on a data storage device (such as a USB key) can be brought to a printing shop.     

I can't print a document from the system. What should I do?

You may need to download and save the document on your computer (or on a data storage device, such as a USB key) before you can print it. Contact us if you receive an error message when trying to save the documents. Please provide the error message, if possible.

If you are able to save and open the document, but cannot print it, you may have a problem with your printer. Make sure the printer cable is properly plugged into your computer or that your wireless router is working properly if you have a wireless connection.

If you are still unable to print, either review your print manual or seek outside technical assistance.

Can I reprint my licence if I've lost it? What if the licence is lost at sea?

Licences issued through the system can be reprinted. The current process for licences lost at sea is still in effect.

Can I simply store my licence, licence conditions and other licensing documents on an electronic device to have onboard my vessel while fishing?

A paper copy of your licence and licence conditions (and any other required paperwork) must be onboard your vessel during fishing activity to be in compliance with Regulations.

Training and assistance

Where can I obtain assistance to learn how to register and use the system?

The user training manual will help guide you through any of the licensing transactions you may need to complete.

Additional support is also available to answer your questions or address your concerns.

Will Client Support personnel understand regional needs?

Yes, call agents are familiar with regional needs and regional licensing processes. However, please note that for complex requests or problems, the agent may need to research the issue before responding to your request or query.

Using the system as a representative

What do I need to do to register to use the National Online Licensing System as a representative?

You need four things:

  1. a GCKey or Sign-In Partner user ID and password
  2. a DFO online profile
  3. a delegation code
  4. an e-mail address

You may also wish to have a paper and pen on hand to write down important information during the registration process. Refer to the "Self-Registration" and "Getting a Delegation Code" sections to help you with the registration process.

Why do I need a delegation code?

You need to provide your delegation code to the DFO client you wish to represent as he/she needs this code to be able to appoint you as their representative. Refer to the "Appointing a Representative" or "Getting a Delegation Code" sections for more information.

Can a DFO Client and his or her representative perform the same transactions?

Yes. A DFO Client can assign three roles to a representative: administrative, financial and operational. Please refer to the "Appointing a Representative" section for more information on how to assign roles to your representative so that he/she may effectively manage your licensing requests and other key transactions.

Is there a limit to the number of representatives appointed to an individual?

Yes, the National Online Licensing System has a delegation limit set in place. If you receive the limit warning when entering a delegation code, contact us or your representative for assistance.

Using the system on behalf of an organization

What do I need to do to register to use the National Online Licensing System on behalf of an Organization?

If you have been identified as a person who is authorized to conduct transactions using the National Online Licensing System for one or more Organizations, you can log in to the system with your GCKey or Sign-In Partner log-in credentials to access the account or accounts of the Organization(s). The name of the Organization, the Organization type (such as a corporation), and the Organization's telephone number will be included in the Organization section of your profile.

For Pacific Region users, please note that Pacific vessel-based licences will appear as Organizations and will not include a telephone number.

Once you have logged in, you can renew licences, submit requests, pay fees, and receive the notifications of any of your Organizations.  Refer to the "Organizations" section for more information.

Licensing requests

What if I do not see the licensing request type I am looking for in the drop-down menu?

If the request type you are looking for is not listed in the drop-down menu, then select "Licensing Services Not Listed Above" and provide more detailed information in the comments box about the request you wish to submit.

Will I receive an e-mail or notification once I have submitted a request?

Once you have successfully submitted a request, you will receive a notification via the system, as well as an email notification indicating that your request has been submitted. A unique Request ID number will be attributed to each request that you submit.

You will also receive an email notification if the status of one of your request changes. However, you will need to log in to the system to check on the exact status of your request. To check the status of a request, consult the Request Status page of your National Online Licensing System profile. Refer to the "Submit Request" and "Request Status" for more information.

Will I continue to receive a notification when fees are available to be paid?

Yes, you will receive an e-mail, and a notification in the National Online Licensing System.