What do fountains, wheels, volcanoes, mines and snakes have in common? They are all fireworks! Fireworks are an exciting, spectacular and fun way to celebrate special events. However, they can also be dangerous. It is important to use fireworks safely, and to be aware of laws that apply.
Many of the laws about fireworks in Canada are in the federal Explosives Act and regulations, administered by the Explosives Regulatory Division of Natural Resources Canada. Only fireworks authorized under the Explosives Regulations can be made, transported, sold, possessed or used in Canada. Contact the Explosives Regulatory Division if you have questions about whether particular fireworks are authorized in Canada.
The Explosives Act categorizes fireworks as Consumer, Special Effect Fireworks, or Display Fireworks. Consumer Fireworks are the type we buy for recreational use. You do not need to be certified by Natural Resources Canada to use them. Consumer fireworks include things like roman candles, sparklers, fountains, wheels and snakes. Special Effect and Display Fireworks are only for licensed professionals! You must be certified by Natural Resources Canada to use them.
You must be at least 18 to buy fireworks, and anyone under 18 who uses fireworks must be supervised by an adult. Stores selling fireworks can be charged if they sell fireworks to a person under 18.
When transporting fireworks in your car, keep in mind that it is against the law to smoke or carry any accelerants like gasoline in the vehicle. The fireworks must be in your trunk, away from the driver and any passengers.
Nova Scotia's Fire Safety Act adopts the National Fire Code of Canada and imposes fire safety guidelines on the use of fireworks. Natural Resources Canada has helpful instructions for the safe use of consumer fireworks, and also issues safety alerts about certain types of fireworks.
It is against the law to use fireworks in Nova Scotia’s provincial parks, unless you have permission. Contact Nova Scotia’s Department of Natural Resources for information about obtaining permission. Municipal by-laws may also prohibit or limit the use of fireworks if it disturbs a residential area. For example, noise by-laws in both the Halifax (By-law N-200) and Cape Breton (By-law N-100) regional municipalities make it an offence to unreasonably disturb the peace by setting off fireworks in a residential area at any time; however, fireworks are allowed on certain days, including Canada Day, Natal Day (in HRM) or civic holidays (in CBRM), New Year’s Eve, and recognized religious holidays. It is a good idea to check with your neighbours ahead of time before you set off fireworks, so they know when and where you plan to set them off.
Check with your local municipality about any by-law restrictions on use of consumer fireworks in your community. You’ll find contact information for your municipality online at novascotia.ca/dma/government/contact.asp. Check Nova Scotia's Office of the Fire Marshal (novascotia.ca/dma/firesafety/) for information about any restrictions, including burn bans. If open fires are not permitted in your part of the province, setting off consumer fireworks is not allowed.