By-law concerning solid fuel-burning devices and fireplaces
What does the new by-law involve?
The By-law concerning solid fuel-burning devices and fireplaces:
Prohibits the use of solid- uel-burning appliances during smog warnings, effective as soon as the by-law is adopted.
Requires owners of wood-burning stoves or fireplaces to declare them within 120 days following the adoption of the by-law.
Prohibits the use of solid-fuel-burning appliances or fireplaces unless they have been certified as appliances that emit no more than 2.5 g/hr of fine particles into the atmosphere (effective October 1, 2018).
Authorizes the use of all solid-fuel-burning appliances during power outages that last more than three hours.
Does this by-law apply to the entire city?
This by-law applies to the city’s 19 boroughs.
What happens if a person violates one of the articles of the by-law?
Any person who violates the by-law is liable:
in the case of an individual:
to a fine of $100 to $500 for a first offence.
to a fine of $500 to $1,000 for a second offence.
to a fine of $1,000 to $2,000 for any subsequent offence.
in the case of a legal person:
to a fine of $200 to $1,000 for a first offence.
$1,000 to $2,000 for a second offence.
$2,000 to $4,000 for any subsequent offence.
Why did Montréal adopt this by-law?
Wood burning is one of the main causes of wintertime smog. It is an important source of fine particle emission (PM2.5) in Montréal (39 %), just behind transportation (45 %). In addition to the impact on the environment and air quality, pollutants from burning wood can adversely affect health and aggravate asthma, childhood bronchitis and lung cancer, and may even hasten death for persons suffering from chronic heart or respiratory disease. Note that the World Health Organization clearly established in 2013 that fine particles resulting from wood burning were carcinogenic. That is why Montréal adopted this by-law.
What about the by-law that was adopted in 2009?
The by-law that was adopted in 2009 will be amended to include the installation of solid fuel-burning appliances and fireplaces that emit no more than 2.5 g/hr of fine particles. The two by-laws will apply in harmony.
Why did Montréal adopt a new by-law if one already existed?
The new by-law will prohibit the use of appliances (stoves or fireplaces) during smog episodes. This will have a direct impact on air quality and was not included in the previous by-law. Also, the new by-law authorizes the installation of solid-fuel-burning appliances certified by a recognized organization, such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or CSA/B415.1-10, and which emit no more than 2.5 g/hr of fine particles. This was not authorized under the previous by-law.
What about the appliances that were authorized under the 2009 by-law? Will their use be authorized?
Electrical appliances or those that burn propane gas, natural gas or pellets, which were authorized under the previous by-law, will continue to be authorized.
Who is responsible for enforcing the by-law?
Montréal’s Service de l’environnement oversees the application of the by-law.
Are ecological logs allowed?
Ecological logs, just like regular logs, can be used in all appliances designed to burn logs.
Do ecological logs comply with the emission rate of 2.5g/h as set out in the by-law?
No. It is the appliance and not the log that is compliant with the by-law. Your appliance must have undergone rigorous testing in order to be compliant.
Beginning Oct. 1, 2018, only wood stoves and fireplaces with an emission rate equal to or less than 2.5g/h particles can be used. Consult your manufacturer to find out if ecological logs can be used in compliant appliances.
Mandatory declaration of solid-fuel-burning appliances
Do I have to declare my fireplace or heating appliance?
Yes, all owners are required to declare their fireplaces or solid-fuel-burning appliances.
Who is responsible for filling out the declaration: the building owner, tenant or administrator?
Owners of several dwelling units with a fireplace or heating appliance must declare them all.
Property managers may provide the required information for all the dwellings under their responsibility.
Tenants must inform the building owners that a letter was sent to them and ask them to fill out the declaration form. If the property owner is out of country, or cannot be reached, the tenants may fill out the declaration form.
What is a solid-fuel-burning appliance?
Solid-fuel-burning appliances include stoves and prefabricated or conventional fireplaces designed to burn wood logs or other solid materials such as ecological logs, pellets or coal. Owners of such appliances are required to declare them.
I have to declare my propane or natural gas fireplace or stove?
No. Propane gas and natural gas are not solid fuels.
Do I have to declare my electric fireplace?
No. Electric fireplaces are not solid-fuel-burning appliances.
How do I declare my solid-fuel-burning fireplace or appliance?
Complete the declaration form and return it by mail to the following address:
Service de l’environnement Woodburning appliances 827 Blvd. Crémazie Est, suite 302 Montréal, QC H2M 2T8
The printable PDF form is available on the web at the following address: ville.montreal.qc.ca/woodburning. Declaration forms are also available at Accès Montréal offices in all 19 boroughs.
I don’t know the model of my wood-burning appliance or fireplace.
If you don’t know the model of your fireplace, leave a blank. If you own a conventional fireplace, identify it as such, or write masonry, the same goes for wood-burning stoves. If you don’t know the model of the stove, leave a blank.
If you don’t know the model, enter the year of installation. Refer to Question 16 for more information. If you don’t know the year, leave a blank.
I don’t know in what year my solid fuel-burning fireplace or appliance was installed? What can I do?
If your fireplace is an integral part of your house, enter the approximate year of construction of your house or dwelling. If your appliance or fireplace was already installed when you bought the house, enter the year of purchase on the form. If the appliance or fireplace was already in place when you moved in, enter the year.
Who can I contact if I have a question regarding the by-law?
If you have a question regarding the by-law, please call 311.
What will happen if I don’t declare my solid-fuel-burning fireplace or appliance?
According to the by-law, you are required to declare your solid-fuel-burning fireplace or appliance. Any person who contravenes the by-law is in violation and is liable to a fine. For more information, please see the answer to Question 3, above.
Do I have to complete two declaration forms if I own two solid-fuel-burning appliances?
No. You can use the same form to declare all your appliances.
What is the deadline for declaring a solid-fuel-burning appliance?
Owners of solid-fuel-burning appliances have 120 days (4 months) in which to declare them. Those who already own a solid-fuel-burning heating appliance must declare it in the 120 days following the adoption of the by-law, or no later than December 22, 2015. Those who plan to acquire a solid-fuel-burning fireplace or appliance over the next few months or years must declare them in the 120 days following the date of acquisition.
Do I have to fill out a declaration form to remove or replace my solid-fuel-burning appliance?
Yes. It is important to report any change to your existing system, including the installation of a new appliance that meets the 2.5 g/hr standard or the removal of your existing appliance.
Do I have to fill out a special form to remove or replace a solid-fuel-burning appliance or fireplace?
No. You only fill out one form. It includes all the necessary information.
Do I need a permit from the borough to install a solid-fuel-burning appliance or fireplace?
Yes. According to the By-law concerning the construction and conversion of buildings (by-law 11-018), a permit is required to install a solid-fuel-burning appliance or fireplace.
Who is responsible for enforcing construction by-law 11-018?
All 19 boroughs are responsible for enforcing the construction by-law.
Do I need to declare a solid fuel-burning appliance or fireplace if a permit has already been issued by the borough authorizing me to install one?
Yes. You must complete a declaration form.
Prohibiting the use of solid fuel-burning devices or fireplaces during smog warnings
Am I allowed to use my solid fuel-burning appliance during a smog episode?
There are usually a dozen smog episodes each winter in Montréal. Winter smog is formed mostly of fine particles and can be observed in the form of yellowish fog that affects visibility and reduces air quality. During winter smog warnings, you must stop using your solid-fuel-burning appliance, no matter what type of appliance you have (fireplace, wood stove or pellet-burning stove), even if it meets EPA standards.
How do I know if a smog warning is in effect?
Montréal issues smog warnings on its homepage at ville.montreal.qc.ca. Messages are also posted on the social networks (Facebook and Twitter). Smog warnings are issued by Environment Canada as part of the Info-Smog program. You may also subscribe to Environment Canada’s Alert Me. The smog warning will also appear on MTQ signs along major highways. You may also watch or listen to the weather reports on TV or the radio.
What will happen if I use my solid fuel-burning appliance or fireplace during a smog episode?
Using any type of solid fuel-burning appliance or fireplace will be prohibited during a smog episode. Any person who contravenes the by-law is in violation and is liable to a fine. For more information, please see the answer to Question 3, above.
Am I allowed to use a wood-burning appliance or fireplace as a heat source during a smog episode?
You may use any type of heating appliance during a power outage that lasts more than three hours, even if there is a smog episode. However, the appliance must be in good condition.
Compliance of solid-fuel-burning devices or fireplaces
How can I find out if my appliance meets the standards of the new by-law?
The by-law stipulates that as of October 1, 2018, the use of solid-fuel-burning devices or fireplaces will be prohibited unless they are certified and emit no more than 2.5 g/hr of fine particles into the atmosphere. If you own an EPA or CSA/B415.1-10 certified appliance or fireplace, you should have a certificate showing the number of g/hr of fine particles that your appliance emits into the atmosphere when it is in use. Stoves and fireplaces that are not EPA or CSA certified do not meet the 2.5 g/hr standard.
What if I don’t know how many g/hr my solid-fuel-burning appliance emits into the atmosphere?
If you don’t know how many grams are emitted, enter the approximate year of acquisition of the appliance on the declaration form. Please refer to Question 14, above, for instructions on how to fill out the section on the year of acquisition.
EPA and CSA certified stoves are issued a certificate showing the number of grams of particles they emit into the atmosphere. Please read the certificate. You may also refer to the EPA or CSA lists on the web to find out if your appliance is listed. If it is, the emission rate will be shown next to the model. Remember, most of the EPA appliances that were sold before 2009 do not meet the 2.5 g/hr emission standard.
Most existing solid-fuel-burning stoves will need to be replaced and fireplaces fitted with a new insert that meets the standards of the by-law, if they are to be used after October 1, 2018.
What happens if my appliance emits more than 2.5 g/hr of fine particles into the atmosphere?
If you wish to use your appliance after October 1, 2018, you will need to have it replaced to meet the standards set out in the by-law. You may call on the services of a heating professional to evaluate your options. If you do not wish to replace your stove or fireplace, you will have to stop using it, except during a power outage of more than 3 hours, as long as your device is in good working order.
Note that you don’t have to remove or replace your appliance but only stop using it.
Who pays for upgrading a heating appliance?
Owners are responsible for the cost of upgrading their appliances to meet city standards. If the appliances are not upgraded, owners will have to stop using them as of October 1, 2018.
Is there a city program to help owners upgrade their solid fuel-burning appliances?
No, there isn’t at this time.
What will happen if I continue to use a solid-fuel-burning appliance that emits more than 2.5 g/hr of fine particles, after October 1, 2018?
Since October 1, 2018, using a solid fuel-burning appliance that emits more than 2.5 g/hr of fine particles is prohibited under a new by-law. Any person who violates the by-law will be liable to a fine. For more information, please see Question 3, above. The city’s Service de l’environnement is responsible for dealing with violators.
Am I allowed to use my appliance in case of a power outage?
You may use all types of solid-fuel-burning appliances during a power outage that lasts more than three hours, as long as the appliance is in good operating condition.
Can I install a filter inside my fireplace to have it comply with the new by-law?
There are no devices (filters or others) that can be added to a fireplace or an appliance to achieve the 2.5 g/hr fine particle emission rate. For an open fireplace, only inserts that have been duly tested are accepted.
Adding a device inside your chimney may have a serious impact on your safety and that of your family. You should consult a professional to determine the solution that meets your needs.
If I replace my woodburning appliance, do I have to modify my chimney?
All questions regarding the chimney or ducts, must be dealt with your borouh. These questions are not within the Environmental department jurisdiction.
If I decide to not use my woobburning device anymore, what can I do with my firewood?
Citizens of Montreal who wish to get rid of their extra firewood can bring it to one of the ecocentre of the City of Montreal.