Brampton city council amends bylaw to ban sale and use of personal fireworks year-round
Published Monday, November 28, 2022 11:21PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, November 29, 2022 3:18PM EST
Brampton city council amended a bylaw Monday night to prohibit the sale or use of personal fireworks in the city, effective immediately.
On Wednesday, Regional Councillor Dennis Keenan – who represents Wards 3 and 4 in the city – brought forward a motion to amend the fireworks bylaw to ban the sale and use of fireworks, as well as increase the current fines.
It was seconded by Regional Councillor Gurpartap Toor of Wards 9 and 10.
The motion was passed unanimously and was ratified at a council meeting Monday night.
“We have seen fireworks going out of whack in the city of Brampton for quite some time and our residents want to see some action on it,” Keenan told CP24 on Monday.
Prior to this, residents were only allowed to set off fireworks four times a year on their private properties: on Victoria Day, Canada Day, Diwali and New Year’s Eve.
“You’ve got the four major times of the year that they go off… but in Brampton, we’re seeing them all the time, we’re seeing them for weddings, birthdays, it’s going every day of the week, it’s becoming a little bit out of control,” Keenan said.
Residents previously could also only fire short-range pyrotechnics – that travel less than three metres, roughly the height of a basketball hoop – off their private property for those holidays. Fireworks that fly higher than that are illegal, as is setting them off in public spaces like sidewalks, streets or parks.
The new bylaw scraps those four exceptions, making personal firework use illegal at all times.
Brampton’s mayor, Patrick Brown, says he’s happy that council has handled an issue that was “very difficult in the community for the last four years.”
“Two new councillors really took the lead on this (Keenan and Toor). They ran on this in the recent election and they honoured their word,” Brown told CP24 Monday night.
“We’ve sent a very clear message that some of the out of control parties won’t be tolerated.”
The bylaw also brings higher fines for those who don’t follow the new rules.
The fine for setting off fireworks will go from $350 to $500, while the fine for selling them will go from $350 to $1,000.
“We need to take the action required to deter people from breaking the bylaw and I think that’s what we’ve been seeing in Brampton – with the current bylaws, people are just living outside them,” said Keenan.
“This takes out any question. You can’t light them, you can’t buy them and you can’t sell them. So, if they are going off on our residential streets, it’s going to be illegal and we can crack down on it.”
The film industry and city-run events will be excluded from the ban.
The bylaw comes weeks after a year-old petition started circulating, looking to restrict fireworks in Brampton and its surrounding areas. As of Monday night, over 10,000 people had signed it.
However, some have criticized the ban, saying it targets the South Asian community, many of whom set off fireworks for Diwali, an annual festival celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains.
Toor says the amended bylaw doesn’t target any community, adding that he’s been overwhelmed by the amount of constituents who say they are happy about the new rules.
“I’ve spoken to people out in the community that are very happy; they have pets at home, these are pet owners who were also worried about fireworks going off throughout the year at odd times across the city and it’s been a really welcome move by the community,” Toor said.
“Being a member from that same community and a councillor from the area that represents a majority of the [South Asian] community, this motion was not brought forward to target the south Asian community. Fireworks are not an issue just on Diwali - Diwali is not an isolated incident - we see the same happen here on Canada day, we see the same happen on Victoria day, on New Year’s, throughout the summer, whenever there’s celebrations out and about in the city, we’ve seen that this has been an issue.”
According to the city, just under 1,500 fireworks-related complaints were made this year, citing excessive noise, fire safety concerns and litter as part of the grievances. In 2018, there were 492.
So far this year, Brampton's By-law and Enforcement team said they issued over $38,000 in fines.
Toor says the amendment was purposely brought forward now so that it would be in place for New Year’s Eve, when he says the city typically responds to many firework-related incidents.
Toor also says that the ban will give the city of Brampton the opportunity to host its own events with fireworks.
“For the first time ever, the city of Brampton will be hosting an event specifically for Diwali where the city will be doing fireworks,” said Toor.
With files from CTV News Toronto's Alex Arsenych.