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Councillor Seeks To Ban Sale of Fireworks - Halton Hills to Review Fireworks By-law

Halton Hills Council has received a report, FIRE-2023-002, in response to a referred matter regarding the review of the municipality's fireworks by-law. The report, presented by Fire Prevention Officer Jason Blackmere on February 1, 2023, and reviewed at the March 6 Council meeting highlighted key points for consideration by Council.

One of the main issues addressed in the report is the need for regulation of the sale and use of fireworks. The report notes that there have been numerous inquiries from residents regarding the discharge of fireworks during various holidays, including Diwali, Lunar New Year, and New Year's Eve.

Currently, only two observances, Victoria Day and Canada Day, are recognized under the existing by-law. The report recommends that the by-law be amended to include regulation of low hazard (consumer) fireworks, the establishment of acceptable times for the discharging of fireworks, the introduction of a permitting process for publicly attended community events, and the introduction of Provincial Offences Part 1 fines to increase enforcement abilities.

The report also notes that if a new fireworks by-law is approved, a new fire safety program will need to be developed and implemented to educate residents about the dangers of improper fireworks discharge and disposal. Additionally, both the By-Law Enforcement and Fire Prevention departments will require additional resources to enforce a new fireworks by-law, and a cost analysis will be required.

The report also highlights the adverse effects of fireworks on individuals and animals, including the triggering of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in some individuals, and physical injury, fear, stress, and death in pets, wildlife, and livestock. The Halton Hills Fire Department often receives emergency 911 calls related to fireworks, which negatively impacts the level of service provided to the community.

“I’m not one who thinks today we should look at banning them,” said Councillor Somerville, though he was hoping for direction back to staff to look at allowing it on Lunar New Years, Diwali, New Years eve and also with “acceptable time limits.” Somerville also stated “I know we don’t have the resources to be able to be out enforcing it if we try to ban, which I don’t think is necessary yet, there’s a-lot of people who get enjoyment out of them, including myself, I enjoy watching them.”

Councillor Albano disagreed with Somerville stating that he wanted to ban the sale of fireworks “I do like to see the ban of the fireworks, simply from the comments that I’ve heard from residents when I was campaigning not this term, but also last term, and it was not just an individual, but a number of residents.”

Councillors Ron Norris and D'Arcy Keene took a more conservative approach stating that we are “opening a can of worms,” if council were to allow new holidays for fireworks to be permitted.

Councillor Garneau asked for public input, “I’m wondering if any public engagement has happened around this, or if public engagement is something we could look at going forward.” Garneau stated “ For every 10 people who very much dislike fireworks for a number of legitimate reasons, there are another 10 people who absolutely love them.”

The report also recommends that the Halton Regional Police Service should be responsible for responding to firework complaints and matters, which would alleviate the burden on the Fire Department.


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