Montreal's wood-burning stoves and fireplaces must be registered by Dec. 22 or face fines

A City of Montreal bylaw, passed on Aug. 18, says wood-burning devices must be declared by Dec. 22 to ensure they meet emissions standards.

Fines start at $500 for those not in compliance with new bylaw

Fire burning in a wood stove.
According to the City of Montreal, there are about 50,000 wood-burning stoves and fireplaces in the city. (CBC)

If you own a wood-burning stove or fireplace, this is the last day to register it or face stiff fines.

A City of Montreal bylaw, passed on Aug. 18, says wood-burning devices must be declared by Dec. 22 to ensure they meet emissions standards.

Wood-burning appliances can be registered online.

The bylaw stipulates that such devices cannot emit more than 2.5 grams of fine particles per hour. Devices that fall short of that must be replaced or adapted by Oct. 18, 2018, or they can no longer be used.

And during smog alerts, no device of any kind is permitted to burn wood.

Fines for not complying are:

  • $500 for the first offence
  • $1,000 for the second offence
  • $2,000 for following offences

Here's a breakdown of the bylaw and what it means for you.

Why was this law adopted?

According to the City, smoke from burning wood accounts for nearly 40 per cent of fine particle pollution, second only to transportation emissions. It's a major cause of winter smog.

What if eco-friendly logs are used?

It doesn't matter. It's not the type of fuel that's the problem. The build and burning efficiency of the device determine the emissions.

How do you upgrade an existing fireplace?

Ask your local hardware store or fireplace dealer about inserts that can fit right into the masonry. These typically run from $2,000 to $4,000.

Are there any exemptions?

Fireplaces that use propane or natural gas do not have to be registered. 

If there is a power outage that lasts more than three hours, any device can be used.

How do you know a device's emissions?

EPA-certified devices should come with a certificate declaring its emissions. Older devices may not have an emission fact sheet, and should be replaced or upgraded.

There are more answers to common question on the City of Montreal's website.