Special Effect Pyrotechnics
Special effect pyrotechnics are high-hazard pyrotechnic articles designed for use by professionals holding a Fireworks Operator Certificate. These include gerbs, mines, comets and crossettes. This class also includes special purpose pyrotechnics manufactured for live stage performances or for special effects in the film and television industry. (Special effect pyrotechnics are classified under the Explosives Regulations as Type F.3.).
Fireworks accessories are explosive articles used to initiate fireworks. (Fireworks accessories are classified under the Explosives Regulations as Type F.4.) Pyrotechnics and fireworks accessories must be stored separately.
The following guidance is for anyone involved in special effect pyrotechnics. For situations not covered here, including exemptions and conditions, consult the Explosives Regulations.
Buying and using special effect pyrotechnics
You are permitted to buy and use special effect pyrotechnics if you have a fireworks operator certificate and are 18 or older. You do not need a fireworks operator certificate to buy and use flash cotton, flash paper, flash string and sparkle string. To buy and use initiation systems or detonating cords, you must also have an explosives licence for these.
Storing special effect pyrotechnics
Storage requirements for users
Dwelling or storage unit
You are permitted to own and store a maximum of 25 kilograms of special effect pyrotechnics and up to 500 electric matches in a dwelling or storage unit.
- The storage unit must be in a dry place, away from flammable substances and sources of ignition.
- The storage unit must prevent unauthorized access and protect the contents from weather.
- If the storage unit is a container, it must not block exit in case of fire.
- If the storage unit is not a container, all exits must be kept clear.
- Any shelving in the storage unit must be made from a non-sparking material (for example, wood or painted metal).
- Only fireworks, pyrotechnics and pyrotechnics accessories may be stored in the storage unit.
- Electric matches must be stored separately from other explosives (for example, on different shelves or separated by a wooden partition).
- The storage unit must be monitored when it is unlocked.
- The storage unit must be kept clean, dry, organized and free of grit.
- Any spill, leakage or other contamination must be cleaned up immediately.
- You must take steps to minimize the risk of fire in or near the storage unit.
- You must post a sign that displays the words “Danger — Fire Hazard/Risque d’incendie” in letters at least 10 centimetres high on the storage unit in a clearly visible location. The sign must also prohibit smoking using letters or a symbol at least 10 centimetres high.
You are permitted to store more than 25 kilograms of special effect pyrotechnics and more than 500 electric matches if you hold an explosives licence.
Storage requirements for sellers
You are permitted to buy and store special effects pyrotechnics for sale if you hold an explosives licence. Special effect pyrotechnics must not be stored in a dwelling or a storage unit.
They must be stored in the magazine specified in your licence.
You may also consult the following guidelines for storing special effect pyrotechnics in a licensed magazine:
- Guidelines for storage of non-industrial explosives (PDF, 614 KB)
- Guidelines for storage compatibility of explosives (Type F.3) (PDF, 196 KB)
Selling special effect pyrotechnics
You are permitted to buy and store special effects pyrotechnics for sale if you hold an explosives licence . The pyrotechnics may not be displayed for sale.
For buyers who have an explosives licence, you must not sell more special effect pyrotechnics than the buyer is authorized to store according to their licence.
If the buyer does not hold an explosives licence, you are permitted to sell them the maximum quantity they are authorized to store under the Explosives Regulations: 10 kilograms if the buyer is storing the fireworks in a dwelling and 1000 kilograms if they are storing them in storage units.
You must verify the buyer’s identity before you are permitted to sell them special effects pyrotechnics. The buyer must prove their identity by providing you with:
- a piece of photo identification, issued by the government of Canada or a provincial, municipal or foreign government; or
- two pieces of identification, both with the buyer’s name. At least one must have been issued by the Government of Canada or a provincial, municipal or foreign government, and at least one must have the buyer’s address.
If the buyer provides photo identification, you must verify that it has a photograph of the buyer.
Record of sale
You must keep a record of every sale of special effect pyrotechnics. The record must be kept for 2 years after the sale. The record must include:
- the buyer’s name and address
- if applicable, the number and expiry date of the buyer’s licence and, if applicable, the number and expiry date of the buyer’s fireworks operator certificate
- the type and product name of each special effect pyrotechnic sold and the name of the person who obtained its authorization
- the quantity of special effect pyrotechnics sold under each product name
- a short description of the effects of any explosive article sold
- the size of the container in which any propellant powder was sold
- the date of the sale
Explosives Regulatory Division
588 Booth Street, 4th Floor
Ottawa ON K1A 0Y7
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