Buying and using consumer fireworks safely and legally
Consumer fireworks are designed for outdoor recreational use by members of the public. Consumer fireworks include Roman candles, sparklers, fountains, wheels, volcanoes, mines and snakes. (Consumer fireworks are classified under the Explosives Regulations as Type F.1.)
The following guidance is for anyone buying and using consumer fireworks. For situations not covered here, including exemptions and conditions, consult the Explosives Regulations.
Using consumer fireworks
Consumer fireworks are powerful pyrotechnic devices and, for this reason, you must follow Canada’s laws for safe and secure use of fireworks. Be sure to know the laws, know your space and read all instructions.
Follow the simple safety procedures outlined below to ensure a fun and safe fireworks display. Many provinces or territories, cities and municipalities have their own restrictions on when and where fireworks may be enjoyed. It is important that you read and respect your local laws.
Read all instructions on the fireworks. Plan the order of firing before you begin.
Never try to light a firework while holding it, and never pick up or hold a lit firework unless the manufacturer’s instructions indicate that they can be hand-held.
Before setting up your display, keep fireworks in a cool, dry, ventilated place, out of the reach of children.
Do not fire in windy conditions.
Choose a wide, clear site away from all obstacles. Refer to the safety instructions on the fireworks labels for minimum distances from spectators.
Light carefully: Always light the fuse at its tip.
Use a good firing base such as a pail filled with earth or sand.
Wait at least 30 minutes before approaching a firework that did not go off. Never try to relight a firework that did not go off. Never try to fix a firework that is defective. Return any defective fireworks to the place of purchase.
Bury fireworks that do not have a base halfway in a container of earth or sand (such as a pail, box or wheelbarrow) unless the labels on the fireworks indicate otherwise. Set them at a 10-degree angle, pointing away from people.
An adult must supervise people under 18 years old when using or in the vicinity of fireworks.
Keep water nearby. Soak used fireworks (including debris) in a pail of water and then dispose of them in your household garbage.
Safety glasses are recommended.
The Explosives Regulatory Division of Natural Resources Canada tests fireworks and approves those that are safe.
To bring consumer fireworks across the Canada–US border, you must have an import permit. You must also ensure that fireworks crossing the border into Canada are authorized in Canada. Many fireworks sold in the US are not. Fireworks crossing the border must meet Canada’s requirements for packaging and bilingual labelling. Members of the public would have difficulty meeting the requirements to bring fireworks into Canada from the US.
Buying consumer fireworks
You are permitted to buy and use fireworks if you are 18 or older. Always purchase your fireworks from a reputable retailer who sells products that meet Canada’s safety rules and standards.
Younger people are permitted to use fireworks if they are supervised by an adult. Younger people are allowed to use sparklers and toy pistol caps without supervision.
You are not allowed to buy or use firework novelty items such as sprite bombs, party snaps and other similar types in Canada. These products are often marketed as novelty items, but they do contain a small amount of explosive material which is activated by either throwing the products to the ground or by stepping on them. There have been many serious injuries to people (mainly children) handing these products.
Storing consumer fireworks
You are permitted to own and store up to 10 kilograms of consumer fireworks in a dwelling (such as a house or apartment). You do not need a licence for this amount.
You must store the consumer fireworks away from flammable substances and sources of ignition and protect them from theft. You must ensure that they can only be accessed by people you have authorized.
You are permitted to store up to 1000 kilograms of consumer fireworks in a storage unit that meets requirements and is outside of any dwelling.
- The storage unit must be located in a dry place, away from flammable substances and sources of ignition
- The storage unit must be constructed and maintained to prevent unauthorized access and to protect the contents from weather
- If the storage unit is a container, it must not impede exit in case of fire
- If the storage unit is not a container, all exits must be unobstructed
- Any shelving in the storage unit must be constructed from a non-sparking material (for example, wood or painted metal)
- Nothing other than consumer fireworks may be stored in the storage unit
- The storage unit must be Footnote*attended when it is unlocked
- The storage unit must be kept clean, dry, organized and free of grit
- Any spill, leakage or other contamination in the storage unit must be cleaned up immediately
- Precautions that minimize the likelihood of fire in or near the storage unit must be taken
- A sign that displays the words “Danger — Fire Hazard/Risque d’incendie” in letters at least 10 cm high and that prohibits smoking using letters, or a symbol, at least 10 cm high must be posted on the storage unit in a clearly visible location.
To store more than 1,000 kilograms of consumer fireworks, you need an explosives licence. Apply for an explosives licence through the electronic Licence Management System (eLMS)
Explosives Regulatory Division
588 Booth Street, 4th Floor
Ottawa ON K1A 0Y7
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