Proposed bylaw would require permits for fireworks

Torontonians may have to take an extra step when preparing to use fireworks, this summer.

The Standards and Licensing Committee at Toronto City Hall will vote on a bylaw to require anyone purchasing fireworks to first obtain a permit from a local fire station, and report when and where fireworks will be detonated.

The bylaw – proposed in May of 2005 by Councillor Shelley Carroll – requires firework vendors to collect the permit from their customers before completing a sale.

“We have controls in Toronto making sure we have responsible vendors, but it’s not entirely effective,” Carroll said. “The vendor can only sell fireworks to someone who presents this permit. My concern is around usage.”

Carroll said she felt the bylaw was necessary after she learned about a number of firework-related injuries after My 24, 2005.

‘I’m not a hundred per cent happy yet’

Carroll is pleased her bylaw is finally going before committee. She warns, however, that the bylaw would still allow the purchase of fireworks without a permit on Canada Day and Victoria Day.

“I’m not a hundred per cent happy yet,” she said. “Let’s set it up for all the time.”

Mike Gerrard of Toronto Fire Services says the benefit of a mandatory permit lies in the fire services’ advance knowledge of where and when fireworks will be set off. Such information is not necessary on May 24 and July 1.

According to Gerrard, most injuries that result from fireworks can be easily avoided.

“(People) don’t keep young kids sufficiently away,” he said. “Also, keep (fireworks) away from trees and other people’s houses. Keep the kids back as far as you can, and be aware where they’re pointed.”

Carroll thinks that the bylaw – if passed – will not burden firefighters with additional work, but will actually strengthen their ties with the community.

“This just requires that they keep an extra form at the office,” she said. “Don’t we want each local fire house to have a connection to their local community? That’s a good constructive relationship between the neighbourhood fire personnel and the neighbourhood itself.”

The bylaw went before the Standards and Licensing Committee on March 30.