$100,000 fines for worst fireworks offenders now possible in Mississauga

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Published October 26, 2023 at 2:06 pm

Mississauga increases fines for illegal fireworks
(Photo: City of Mississauga)

Mississauga is taking direct aim at those who most egregiously break fireworks rules with a stronger bylaw that increases maximum fines from $5,000 to $100,000 — or more.

In presenting his notice of motion at Wednesday’s council meeting, Ward 8 Councillor Matt Mahoney said his call for more teeth in the enforcement of Mississauga’s fireworks bylaw targets the worst of offenders.

“This is targeting the illegal fireworks that we, as a municipality, have been dealing with for years,” Mahoney told his colleagues shortly before the motion passed.

“I think the $100,000 fine is really something that just shows people who are breaking the rules that we’re not going to stand for it any longer.”

The current bylaw on the books in Mississauga with respect to fireworks allows for a maximum fine of $5,000 to be imposed on those who set them off illegally. Effective Dec. 1, that figure will increase significantly to $100,000 and, in special cases, Mahoney noted, the penalty could be even steeper, as much as $200,000.

Throwing his support behind the motion, Ward 1 Councillor Stephen Dasko said the degree to which the worst offenders are flouting the rules is unacceptable and “quite frankly, it drags everybody down whether it’s a Canada Day celebration or Diwali; whatever it is, it reflects poorly on everybody.”

He added that giving the bylaw “some real teeth makes a ton of sense and…it’s not somebody that’s going to a park to light off a couple of bottle rockets that’s going to get charged $100,000; this is somebody that’s really doing something egregious, and right now $5,000 clearly is not cutting it.”

Ward 8 Councillor Matt Mahoney, shown here at Wednesday’s council meeting, wants to give more teeth to a number of bylaws governing such things as fireworks and public gatherings that get out of control.

Ward 5 Councillor Carolyn Parrish, who like a number of her colleagues has dealt with extreme cases of rule breakers in her ward, particularly groups setting off fireworks illegally at plazas and other places, can’t wait for the new maximum fine to be in place.

“I would like to see it implemented yesterday,” she said at council.

“When you deal with large entities like plazas with their various groups, small fines aren’t going to make any difference. They just write those off…so, unless you do something serious like this, you’re not going to get their attention and you’re not going to be able to stop it.”

She added that the city should let large plaza owners know immediately and directly of the new maximum fine “and then they will patrol their own plazas.”

Parrish also noted that much stronger enforcement isn’t intended to target individuals or smaller groups.

“We’re targeting the massive plazas, particularly the ones that have already been offensive.”

Mahoney said his aggressive call for much heftier fines extends beyond fireworks rules to other Mississauga bylaws as well, including one related to noise and nuisance.

That bylaw states that “no person shall in the City of Mississauga create, cause or permit any unusual noise or noises likely to disturb the inhabitants.”

“My intention here is not to specifically only do this for fireworks…I think we do need more teeth and more strength in our bylaws to be able to fine individuals who are essentially breaking our bylaws and creating havoc and creating problems,” he said, adding future motions will address other bylaws.

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