Permits, licences, certificates and regulations for fireworks and pyrotechnics
Are you setting off fireworks at a Canada Day party? Providing professional fireworks for events? Filming a television show or movie with pyrotechnical special effects?
Are you involved in manufacturing, buying, selling, using, importing, exporting or transporting fireworks or pyrotechnics?
In these and many other situations, you may need to meet certain requirements. You may also need get an authorization, permit, licence or certificate. Canada’s requirements for fireworks and pyrotechnics ensure that they are made, transported, stored and used safely and for their intended purpose.
The following guidance is for anyone involved in fireworks. For situations not covered here, including exemptions and conditions, consult the Explosives Regulations.
Types of fireworks
The requirements you need to meet depend on the type of fireworks or pyrotechnics. In Canada, fireworks are divided into three types:
- Fireworks for recreational use by the public
- Low-hazard fireworks
- Items like Roman candles, sparklers, fountains, volcanoes, mines, and snakes
You do not need any permit or licence from the federal government to use consumer fireworks. 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. Learn more about how to use consumer fireworks safely. Learn more about Selling consumer fireworks.
To bring consumer fireworks into Canada, you must have an import permit. You must also ensure that fireworks crossing the border into Canada are authorized in Canada. Many fireworks for sale in the US are not. Fireworks crossing the border must meet Canada’s requirements for packaging and bilingual labelling. As a result, members of the public would have difficulty meeting the requirements to bring fireworks into Canada from the US.
- Fireworks for professional use at events such as Victoria Day, Canada Day and fireworks festivals
- High-hazard fireworks
- Items like aerial shells, cakes, barrages, waterfalls, lances, set pieces and wheels
Special effect pyrotechnics
- Pyrotechnics for professional use at events such as live stage performances and for special effects in television and film production
- High-hazard pyrotechnics
- Items like gerbs, mines, comets and crossettes
Permits, licences and certificates
Fireworks manufactured, transported, bought, sold or used in Canada, or imported into Canada, must be authorized by Natural Resources Canada. There are some exemptions from the requirement for authorization. For more information about exemptions, see the Explosives Regulations section 25. You can learn whether fireworks have been authorized by checking the list of authorized explosives in Canada.
You are not allowed to sell, 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 that 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) handling these products. See a list of prohibited fireworks.
If a firework product is not authorized in Canada, you can apply to have it authorized.
To manufacture fireworks in Canada (including assembly and packaging), you must have a licence or certificate to manufacture explosives.
Importing, exporting and transporting
To import fireworks into Canada, or to export them from Canada to another country, you need an import or export permit.
To transport fireworks originating in another country through Canada and onward to another country (transporting in-transit), you need an in-transit permit. You do not need to ensure that fireworks transported in-transit are authorized in Canada. This is an exception; all other fireworks in Canada must be authorized.
When transporting fireworks and pyrotechnics within Canada, requirements depend on the type and amount of fireworks and pyrotechnics. For common types of fireworks, the product must be transported in a package or container that minimizes the risk of ignition. For additional information, consult Importing, exporting and transporting fireworks. For larger amounts of fireworks and pyrotechnics, you need to meet safety and security requirements of the Explosives Regulations as well as requirements for the transportation of dangerous goods. For more information, consult Part 9 of the Explosives Regulations and Transportation of dangerous goods in Canada (Transport Canada) or the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (Transport Canada).
Buying, selling, and using
To buy, sell and use fireworks, you must meet requirements to store fireworks safely and securely. In some cases, you may need an explosives licence to store large quantities of fireworks.
To manage your explosives licensing needs, the most efficient approach is to use the electronic Licence Management System (eLMS).
Through the eLMS, you have access to all of your authorizations, permits, licences, enrolments and certificates. All services are available, i.e., starting an application, making payments, checking an application status, updating information and receiving approvals.
Consult explosives guidelines and standards to help you manage fireworks and pyrotechnics effectively and safely.
Using display fireworks or special effect pyrotechnics
Only professional technicians are permitted to use these classes of fireworks. To use these classes of fireworks in Canada, you must have a fireworks operator certificate. Learn how to get certified.
Professional technicians visiting from another country, for a fireworks festival, for example, are permitted to assist a certified technician. To do so, a visiting technician must get a fireworks operator certificate – visitor. Learn how to get a visitor certification.
Find contact information for general inquiries or urgent requests related to explosives, fireworks, ammunition or restricted components.
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