2017 Year in Review

Get to know the CNFA!

Happy new year and welcome to the Canadian National Fireworks Association year-in-review newsletter for 2017!

As the leading national voice advocating on behalf of the fireworks industry, CNFA has the key responsibility of acting as a resource to the fireworks industry, fireworks enthusiasts, and the general public. We strive to keep our members informed about topics of interest or changes implemented throughout the country at federal, provincial and municipal levels that affect the industry.

Over the past twelve months, we have been working hard to advocate for positive changes for the industry by working with regulators across the country, educating the public on consumer fireworks safety and promoting the association at important conferences and events.

This newsletter will provide an overview of the events CNFA has participated in, the issues we have been engaged in, changes that have taken place over the past year and other industry-related updates. We hope you will engage with us by letting us know how helpful the following information is and what, if anything, else you would like to see included in our next issue. Feedback or questions can be submitted to info@cnfa.org.

Conferences & Events Hosted by the CNFA

CNFA Annual General Meeting & Conference
Ottawa, ON
March 2017

In March, 2017, CNFA hosted its second annual conference, where several guests speakers addressed members on important industry topics. Summary of information presented:

A presentation was given by one of CNFA’s consultants, Juri Kasemets P.Eng., a former federal explosives inspector, of Explosives Management Group.  He spoke on:

  • The Treasury Board requirement for proper consultation when changes in legislation, regulations and policy are looking to be made;
  • The difference between Quantity Distance (QD) and Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA) and the introduction of IMESAFR, software for QRA now being proposed for ports;
  • The 2015 QD manual made mandatory by amendment #1 to ER2013
  • Specifics from the 2015 QD manual, such as the aggregation rule: when storing 10 kg of PE 3 with 100 kg of PE 4, the aggregation for QD and licensing is 110 kg of PE 3;
  • Port issues leading to restricting explosives handling at some ports;
  • De-regulation of sparklers;
  • Complete delinking of consumer fireworks with the PE 4 QD table.

Discussion was also held on the following topics:

  • Suspension vs cancellation of a licence;
  • Indoor fireworks possibility;
  • Authorization guideline with regards to eliminating the number of tubes; recommended changes to selection and rejection criteria for continuing authorization, such as moving labelling requirements from regulations to authorization criteria.

Explosives Regulation Division (ERD)
There was a briefing by Jean-Luc Arpin, the Chief Inspector of Explosives, and Rachel Robbins, the Senior Inspector, Pyrotechnics/Fireworks. Their presentation included slides and discussion on:

  • Personnel changes at ERD;
  • New electronic licence management system (eLMS);
  • ERD activities;
  • Review of incidents;
  • Picking and assembly guidelines for display fireworks;
  • The Next edition of the Display Fireworks Manual.

Sutherland Corporation, CNFA’s government and public relations consultants provided a presentation focused on consumer fireworks. They spoke on various political issues faced by the industry, including

  • Proposed changes and recommendations to the Alberta Fire Code (AFC) which would increase municipal autonomy over developing fireworks by-laws,. The document “Fireworks: What We Heard” was developed by the Government of Alberta and referenced CNFA’s proposed changes;
  • CNFA’s efforts in the City of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland to address political issues around the selling of consumer fireworks;
  • Changes to the Vancouver by-law, including:
    • Roman candles now allowed in family packs
    • Revised the storage limit from 150kg to 1000kg
    • Removed the transportation restriction altogether (it previously had a restriction of 150kg max which would have impacted the industry’s ability to deliver product)
    • Stopped the outright ban of consumer fireworks in the City of Brampton and assisted in developing a by-law that accounts for the interest of the public, regulators and the industry.

Read the full “Fireworks: What We Heard” document.

Annual Metro Vancouver Fireworks Vendor Workshop

In late September, 2017, CNFA hosted its second annual Fireworks Vendor Workshop for retailers intending to sell fireworks in the Metro Vancouver Area during the Halloween season. All vendors who completed the workshop received a CNFA Vendor certificate, which alerts local fire departments of their participation and knowledge. Information covered in the workshop included:

  • Review of latest federal regulations for the sale and storage of fireworks
  • Review of latest regulations regarding the sale and use of fireworks in each Metro Vancouver municipality during Diwali and Halloween

Conferences & Events Attended by the CNFA

Alberta Fire Chief Association Trade Show
Red Deer, AB
June 2017

The AFCA trade show is attended by fire chiefs, fire fighters and other members of fire services from across Alberta. CNFA hosted a booth in the trade show where we shared the Government of Alberta’s “Fireworks: what we heard” document with attendees and learned about existing firework regulations that work for specific Alberta municipalities.

Union of British Columbia Municipalities Trade Show
Vancouver, BC
September 2017

The UBCM trade show is attended by public office holders and staff from municipalities across B.C. CNFA hosted a booth in the trade show, where we spoke to key representatives about the patchwork of firework legislations in place in the lower mainland. Discussions revolved around the dangers of banning fireworks and how CNFA can assist where issues arise regarding consumer fireworks legislation.

Alberta Urban Municipalities Association Convention
Calgary, AB
November 2017

The AUMA convention is attended by public office holders and staff from municipalities across Alberta. CNFA attended the convention, where we learned more about the political changes in Alberta, and spoke with municipality representatives about the current AFC. Additionally, CNFA hosted a hospitality suite and invited government officials to engage in conversations about the AFC, the changes proposed in the “Fireworks: What We Heard” document, and the role municipalities can have in making these changes happen.

Safe Manufacturing and Regulation for Pyrotechnics Manufacturing Seminar
Malolos, Bulacan, Philippines
January 2018

The Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology hosted a week-long seminar on the safe manufacturing and regulation of firecrackers and pyrotechnics which was attended by local government officials, fire prevention reps, manufacturers and other industry stakeholders. CNFA member, Bill Raynault, was invited to speak at the seminar on safety in Canadian fireworks regulations. Topics covered in Bill’s presentation included:

  • Canadian manufacturing;
  • Storage;
  • Quantity distance tables; and
  • Consumer firework regulations

The seminar also acted as a forum to share expertise in new technology, safety manufacturing, regulations and international standards in order to help local Pyrotechnicians advance their capabilities and knowledge in these areas. Additionally, the venue served as a grounds to identify technological gaps, problems, and threats being faced by the local industry and resulted in understanding next steps to fix current issues. CNFA received a warm reception at the event and served as a great resource in promoting Canada’s efforts to design regulations that are safety-focused and reflective of industry standards.

Federal Explosives Regulations 2013 – Changes & Updates to Note

The primary focus of the more recent amendments to Explosives Regulations, 2013 (ER2013), specifically Amendment 2, involves the issue of handling explosives at ports. CNFA is interested in receiving your comments relating to any problems that the restrictions on handling fireworks at certain ports have created while running your operations. Two changes of note:

  1. Towing trailers with fireworks inside is in the process of being moved into the regulations under s(3) of ER2013:

The current s. 191(3) states: The carrier of explosives must not transport explosives in a towed vehicle unless:

(a) the explosives are in a semi-trailer attached to a truck tractor or in a fifth-wheel trailer; or

(b) the explosives are in a trailer that is part of a road train travelling over ice roads and the Minister has determined that precautions minimizing the likelihood of an ignition have been taken.

Previously, this has been allowed under Directive 7, which will be cancelled as soon as the new regulation appears in Canada Gazette II. CNFA will report this change, once confirmed, in a future newsletter. Points to note:

  • As per Section 191(3) of the ER2013, a carrier of explosives may transport explosives that are in a semi-trailer attached to a truck tractor or in a fifth-wheel trailer; or explosives that are in a trailer that is part of a road train travelling over ice roads and the Minister has determined that precautions minimizing the likelihood of an ignition have been taken.
  • The ERD will also allow the transport of explosives in a towed trailer when the driver holds a fireworks operator certificate (display assistant, display supervisor or display supervisor with endorsements) and the explosives being transported are the numbers: UN 0333, FIREWORKS; UN 0334, FIREWORKS; UN 0335, FIREWORKS; UN 0336, FIREWORKS; UN 0337, FIREWORKS

The driver of the vehicle must ensure the following requirements are met:

  • No more than 750 kg NEQ of explosives are transported in the trailer;
  • There is a weight distribution hitch installed between the tow vehicle and the trailer;
  • The tow vehicle is a rear wheel drive and has a 3000 lb (1360 kg) minimum tow rating; and
  • The trailer hitch is locked to the receiver using a keyed locking mechanism.
  • The towing vehicle and trailer must also conform to the respective provincial laws and regulations, including CGVWR (combined gross vehicle weight rating).
  1. One of the proposed amendments in #2 to ER2013 states that no licence or permit would be needed for making Christmas crackers. Note that the snap will still need to be authorized.

The ERD website previously offered a thorough document called the Consumer Fireworks Retail Package which covered useful information about the Explosives Act and ER2013 regarding selling and storing consumer fireworks. This document has been archived, so CNFA is in the process of preparing a resource to help relay the information it entailed, and to hopefully expand this information.  In the meantime, there is a short version on ERD’s website you can refer to here.

In December 2017, CNFA submitted a proposal intended for ERD with reasoning to increase unlicensed limits of product from 1,000 kg to 2,000 kg.  We will report the results of this, if any, in the next CNFA newsletter.

Topics of Interest

#CelebratewithCNFA contest

CNFA is currently hosting a national contest for the chance to win consumer (family) fireworks prize packs worth $500! Contestants are entered by sharing photos of fireworks celebrations on their social media pages by using the hashtag #CelebratewithCNFA. Anyone can enter at any time until Canada Day 2018. There are four prize packs to be won overall, and each winner is chosen seasonally by random draw.

This is a great contest you can share with your customers, family and friends! Full contest details can be found here.

CNFA is also hosting a retailer contest. The fireworks retailer who signs up the highest number  of new CNFA members will win $5000 worth of family fireworks. Every retailer who signs up at least 25 new members are entered in for a secondary prize of $1000 worth of family fireworks. New members must include their retailers’ contact information in the “Referral” section of the application for retailers to be entered in the contest.

Questions about the retailers contest may be directed to info@cnfa.org.

Q & A


Q: Are misfired fireworks considered used fireworks?

A: Yes, it is recommended by Natural Resources Canada’s safety outline for consumers to treat a “dud” firework as a used firework. If you encounter a dud firework, ERD has recommended the following steps be taken:

  • Place the consumer fireworks in a bucket of water and wait 30 minutes. After this time, dispose of the remains in the garbage (double bagged). It’s also a good idea to wet any consumer fireworks after they have been fired (dud or not) since their packaging can remain hot for some time.

Q: While displaying fireworks for sale, they must be attended at all times, what does this mean?

A: The definition of ‘attended’ in the regulations is: “to be constantly monitored by a person and, unless these Regulations provide otherwise, includes monitoring by a person using electronic means”. Since the regulations in Part 16 referring to ‘attended’ does not state that it has to be done in person, electronic means may be used; for example, CCTV coverage with the monitor at the sales point.

Q: Have you been threatened with suspension or cancellation of your licence?

A: If so, refer to s. 173 of ER2013.   Only the Chief Inspector of Explosives (CIE) has the power to do so– no other explosives inspector (the power can’t be delegated).  The criteria for cancelling is in s 173 (2).   There should be specific reference and an explanation of how they apply the cancellation. Please contact us if you have or have had an issue with the regulator specifically with the suspension or cancellation of your license. Reference

Q:  Are federal regulations such as the Explosives Act the highest level of regulations I must follow?

A: NO. You must refer to all levels of governing levels (federal, provincial, and municipal bylaws) and follow the most restrictive requirements in your area. In some cases, they will be more restrictive than federal regulations, and must be followed accordingly.

Fireworks Facts

  • Did you know? The Explosives Act is over 100 years old!
  • The EA came into force just after WWI as a result of a serious accident with the storage of explosives around 1910.  It was focused on blasting but fireworks were included over the years.
  • The long title of the EA gives you an idea of its scope and it includes offences and penalties as well as the power to create regulations. It is An Act respecting the manufacture, testing, acquisition, possession, sale, storage, transportation, importation and exportation of explosives and the use of fireworks.
  • Did you know? Use of fireworks is a federal responsibility while the use of blasting explosives belongs with provinces – but that hasn’t stopped the other two levels of government from getting involved!
  • Did you know? The first draft of the Family Fireworks Regulations was completed in 1991!
  • Part 16 of ER2013 is on Consumer Fireworks, and the path to these regulations was a long one!
  • In the early 1970s requirements such as minimum age of 18 to purchase family fireworks and restricting firecrackers were introduced after a tragic accident in Alberta resulted in the deaths of two children, but updating the complicated requirements began in the mid-80s.
  • When the first draft of the Family Fireworks Regulations was completed in 1991, all regulations in Canada were to be formatted in a plain language format. However, this died some years later. There was a Consumer Fireworks Regulations Usability Testing project with, for example, interviews of random people at shopping centres as to what they thought of the icons used in the sheet to be given to purchasers. Even the term ‘family fireworks’ was changed to ‘consumer fireworks’ to make it clearer that single people could purchase fireworks, not just families!

If you are interested in how regulations in general are amended see the December 2016 issue of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods newsletter starting at page 11. You may also consider signing up for future issues of the newsletter. Both of these can be found here.

Have fireworks questions? Ask us at info@cnfa.org and look for an answer in our next newsletter.

Announcements & What to Watch For

Congratulations to the first of four #CelebrateWithCNFA prize pack winners, Rachel Duke!

CNFA will have a featured editorial piece in The Alberta Fire Chiefs Association bi-annual magazine, The Responder, available February of this year!

IMESAFR Training is available April 2018 in Ottawa, ON. These sessions only come to Canada every 2-3 years. For more information, please visit here.

This year, CNFA’s annual conference will be bigger and better and held at a different location and time of year.   Please send along any suggestions regarding the types of information sessions or workshops you would like to see available.

Stay tuned for more details on the upcoming 2018 CNFA Annual Conference.