Backyard fireworks on New Year’s Eve may soon be allowed in Mississauga without permit

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Published October 10, 2023 at 9:07 am

Fireworks Burlington drones Canada July

Mississauga residents might soon be able to set off personal fireworks on New Year’s Eve.

After moving to crack down on personal fireworks displays in Mississauga following a spate of complaints about noise lasting long into the night (and long after the holiday itself had passed), council is now set to decide whether it will allow residents to celebrate New Year’s Eve with some sparkly accoutrement.  

Council will also weigh in on whether it’s desirable to move away from large fireworks displays at city-endorsed events in light of environmental and other concerns and instead consider alternatives such as drone shows. 

According to a recent corporate report presented to councillors, city staff are recommending that the city’s two existing firework bylaws–one governing personal use and another governing firework sales–be consolidated into one.

Staff are also recommending that personal firework use be permitted without a special permit on New Year’s Eve.

As of now, residents can only use fireworks on private property until midnight on Victoria Day, Canada Day, Lunar New Year and Diwali. 

Mississauga council first directed staff members in January to launch a review of the City’s Fireworks Bylaw, asking that they consider stricter bylaws governing the sale of fireworks, restrictions on the type of fireworks for individual use and clarification of the days and hours fireworks can be used, among other measures.

The proposal to look at Mississauga’s fireworks policies was brought forward by Ward 5 Councillor Carolyn Parrish. Her proposal called for more restrictions on the personal use of fireworks, but stopped short of a total ban.

According to the report, city staff reviewed the existing fireworks bylaws to identify possible amendments and “develop options intended to improve compliance with regulations.”

According to the report, multiple community engagement sessions revealed “support for increased enforcement and public education.” 

The report says enforcement staff conducted proactive inspections of fireworks vendors and responded to complaints from residents between May and September 2023, including during the Victoria Day and Canada Day holiday weekends. 

According to the report, 976 inspections were conducted and enforcement staff responded to 170 complaints. 

Staff recommend continuing proactive inspections, responding in person to complaints and doing more to educate residents about rules and regulations surrounding the use of personal fireworks. In response to council’s call to examine the existing bylaws earlier this year, staff compared existing rules with those in other jurisdictions (including Brampton, which banned fireworks entirely), held meetings and put out surveys, including in-person ones conducted during two community events. 

The report says staff are recommending several key changes. Along with the recommended consolidation of the two fireworks bylaws and the addition of New Year’s Day as a permitted holiday, they are also proposing changes to the permitted times for use and sales on the day of the holiday and a training requirement for vendors.

“It is important to note that although there is resident support for increased enforcement, greater enforcement does not necessarily equal less fireworks, especially due to the fleeting nature of violations and the difficulty in determining the exact location of the violation. Robust public education on bylaw regulations may be a more effective tool to increase compliance,” the report reads. 

“Staff will develop a comprehensive communication plan to deliver key messages to residents using multiple tactics including the city’s website and signage, social media posts and community outreach. This will improve awareness of the bylaw regulations, which may lead to greater compliance.” 

The report also says that while staff are not recommending banning fireworks, “consideration should be given to moving away from large city-endorsed events that incorporate fireworks displays.” 

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