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About the Residential Indoor Wood Burning Bylaw

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Before you use a residential indoor wood-burning stove, fireplace, or appliance in the Metro Vancouver region you must provide a declaration to follow best burning practices. Eligible appliances located within the Urban Containment Boundary must also be registered. Access the Declaration and Registration System​.


​Residential Ind​​oor Wood Burning Bylaw 1303, 2020

To reduce emissions from residential indoor wood burning, the Metro Vancouver Regional District (MVRD) Board adopted Metro Van​​​couver Regional District Residential Indoor Wood Burning Emission Regulation Bylaw 1303, 2020 in March 2020. This bylaw is intended to reduce impacts to health and the environment of residential wood smoke.

 

 

Bylaw 1303, 2020 - A Bylaw to Regulate the Discharge of Air Contaminants from Residential Indoor Wood Burning Applianceshttps://metrovancouver.org/boards/Bylaws/MVRD_Bylaw_1303.pdf, Bylaw 1303, 2020 - A Bylaw to Regulate the Discharge of Air Contaminants from Residential Indoor Wood Burning AppliancesBylaw 1303, 2020 - A Bylaw to Regulate the Discharge of Air Contaminants from Residential Indoor Wood Burning Appliances

​Phased-​in bylaw requirements

Best burning practices are currently required whenever an appliance is used (see Schedule B for a description). Every year there will be a prohibition on using indoor wood burning appliances during the warm season (May 15 to September 15).

Future phased ​measures promote cleaner wood-burning practices and technologies, and more stringent requirements in more densely populated areas will help reduce exposure to harmful smoke.

From September 2022, users who reside in Metro Vancouver’s Urban Containment Boundary (UCB Map) will be required to register their appliance with Metro Vancouver. To qualify for registration, the appliance must meet performance standards to ensure emissions are low. From September 2025 (2032 for the Village of Lions Bay), un​​registered appliances will not be allowed to operate, except during emergencies, or if it is being operated within a low-income household.​

​Best burning practices must be used when burning is allowed. Examples include:

  • clean, dry wood
  • small, hot fires
  • do not burn garbge​​​
Starting​ September 2025 Restricted Use and Renewal ​​​You cannot use non-registered appliances within urban areas except if your house-hold qualifies as low income or during an emergency.
You must renew any declarations and registrations in urban areas every three years. ​
From September 2022 ​​Declarations and Registration ​​​If you burn, you must declare your use of best burning practices and, in urban areas, register eligible appliances.
​​From May 2021 Seasonal Prohibition
​​You cannot burn between May 15 and September 15 each year, unless it is your sole source of heat, you are in an off-grid rural home, or during an emergency.​
​​


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Frequently asked questions

  • Residential Indoor Wood Burning Bylaw Online Declaration and Registration System
    • What is a residential indoor wood-burning appliance?

      A residential indoor wood burning appliance is a device that is capable of burning solid fuel and includes fireplace inserts, woodstoves, pellet stoves, open hearth fireplaces, masonry heaters, and wood burning furnaces.

      Fireplace Inserts

      Fireplace inserts

      Wood/Pellet Stoves

      Wood/pellet stoves

      Wood/Pellet Stoves

      Open fireplaces

    • What am I required to do under bylaw 1303 starting September 15, 2022?

      Starting September 15, 2022, before you use a residential indoor wood burning appliance, you are required to:

      1. Submit a declaration of compliance with best burning practices

      If you own or operate a wood burning appliance in the Metro Vancouver region, you must submit a declaration of compliance with best burning practices (see Schedule B) to the district director.

      2. Register the appliance if it is within the Urban Containment Boundary (UCB) and it is eligible

      If an appliance address is within the UCB, you must register it, if eligible, before use. Click here to check if an address is within the UCB.

      Not all appliances are eligible for registration. Eligibility for registration is set out in Part 4 of the bylaw and includes:

      • appliances that are the sole source of heat,
      • appliances that are operated exclusively with manufactured firelogs and
      • appliances that meet the emission standards prescribed in Schedule A of the Bylaw.

      You will be asked to submit additional information in the online system to support your registration.

      Sample supporting document for registration includes:

      • installation
      • certification marks
      • emission/performance specifications (grams/hour of fine particulates)
      • purchase receipt (if available)

    • What is a declaration of compliance?

      This is a Metro Vancouver form that a person signs confirming that they have read, understand, and will use the best burning practices set out in Schedule B of Bylaw 1303 when operating a residential indoor wood burning appliance.

      A person may submit this form using Metro Vancouver’s online system or they can request and submit a paper version of the form.

    • What is registration?

      Registration means providing Metro Vancouver with specific information about eligible wood burning appliances located within the Urban Containment Boundary. See Bylaw 1303, Section 11.

      A person may register an appliance using Metro Vancouver’s online system or they can request and submit a paper version of the registration form.

    • What is the cost to register?

      There is no fee to register.

      To submit a declaration and registration form online, you will need a valid email address and working internet connection.

      If you have requested that forms be mailed to you, then completed forms may be dropped off or mailed (at your expense) to:

      Bylaw 1303 Forms
      c/o Metro Vancouver Regional District
      Environmental Regulation and Enforcement
      4515 Central Blvd, Burnaby BC V5H 0C6

    • How do I find my appliance’s certification or emission standard?

      Refer to your operator’s manual or other material provided to you when you purchased the appliance. Depending on the type of wood burning appliance, certification marks may be found on the back (of a freestanding stove) or on the side behind the faceplate (if an insert) depending on the make and manufacturer. Contact your retailer or manufacturer if unsure.

      Appliance certification/emission standard label

      Appliance certification/emission standard label

    • What if my wood burning appliance is not eligible for registration?

      If your appliance is not eligible for registration and it is located within the Urban Containment Boundary, you are prohibited from using it after September 14, 2025. For example, an open fireplace that does not exclusively use manufactured firelogs is ineligible for registration because it does not meet the emission standards in Schedule A of the bylaw.

    • What about rental units or strata complexes?

      All owners and operators (e.g., occupants or tenants) of multi-family units with residential indoor wood burning appliances are individually responsible for complying with the bylaw. Each person who uses a wood burning appliance must submit a declaration of compliance with best burning practices, but only one registration per eligible wood burning appliance within the urban containment boundary is required.

      Strata corporations or rental management companies may request materials for distribution to residents by contacting us at 604-451-6677.

    • What if I never use a wood burning appliance?

      No action is required.

    • What if I want to use a wood burning appliance in the future?

      If at a later date you intend to use an appliance (e.g., if you buy a new home with an appliance), you will need to comply with the bylaw before using it.

    • How do I submit information to Metro Vancouver?

      To submit your information electronically, click here for the online declaration and registration system.

      To request paper copies of the declaration or registration forms, call 604-451-6677 or email riwb@metrovancouver.org.

    • What will Metro Vancouver do with my personal information?

      Personal information is collected under the authority of Part 3 of Metro Vancouver Regional District Residential Indoor Wood Burning Emission Regulation Bylaw 1303, 2020 (“the Bylaw”) and for the purposes of administration or enforcement of the Bylaw.

      Collection, use and disclosure of personal information by a public body such as Metro Vancouver Regional District (“Metro Vancouver”) is regulated by Part 3, Division 2 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 165, as amended. For further information about Metro Vancouver’s collection, use and disclosure of information, please contact Metro Vancouver’s Information and Privacy Officer at privacy@metrovancouver.org.

  • About the Bylaw
    • What is residential indoor wood burning?

      Residential indoor wood burning refers to using a wood-burning appliance, such as a fireplace or wood stove, indoors for heat or ambiance. It does not include using a wood burning appliance to cook food or outdoor wood-fired hot tubs and heaters. The bylaw specifically includes the following residential indoor wood-burning appliances: pellet stoves, masonry heaters, wood-burning furnaces, and fireplace inserts.

    • Why is Metro Vancouver regulating residential indoor wood burning?

      Residential indoor wood burning is the single largest contributor to harmful fine particle emissions in the Metro Vancouver region. Fine particles are linked to negative health effects, particularly for the elderly, children, and people with chronic heart and lung issues.

      Although steps have been taken to reduce residential indoor wood burning emissions through voluntary measures, such as rebates for exchanging an old appliance for a new low-emission appliance and education campaigns, additional measures are required to reduce emissions.

    • What are the new bylaw requirements?

      In March 2020, Metro Vancouver adopted a residential indoor wood burning bylaw. The bylaw requires residents who use wood-burning appliances to comply with “Best Burning Practices”, as defined in Schedule B. The bylaw also prohibits burning during the warmer season (May 15 to September 15) unless the wood-burning appliance is the sole source of heat in a residence, is in an off-grid residence outside the Urban Containment Boundary, or if there is an emergency (such as a power outage lasting for 3 hours or more).

      Requirements will be phased in to promote cleaner technologies, with more stringent requirements in more densely populated areas. These requirements are being introduced in stages between 2020 and 2025 and will help further reduce exposure to wood smoke emissions:

      Residential indoor wood burning timeline

    • What are best burning practices?

      Anyone using a wood-burning appliance in the Metro Vancouver region is now required to use best burning practices to reduce wood smoke emissions.

      These best burning practices must be applied to minimize smoke:

      • Your fire must produce no visible emissions except for a maximum of 20 minutes within a four-hour period, when starting a new fire.
      • Operate your wood-burning appliance according to the manufacturer’s recommended operating procedures.
      • Minimize smoke by only burning clean, seasoned wood, manufactured firelogs, or wood pellets and for the purpose of starting a fire only, non-glossy, uncoated, uncoloured paper.
      • Never burn garbage, including plastics, rubber, treated wood and painted wood. These release toxic chemicals.
      • Burn small, hot fires. They produce much less smoke than those left to smoulder.
      • If you need to burn a fire overnight to provide a heat source, load your fuel to prevent the fire smouldering. For more details, please see Schedule B of the bylaw
      • Inspect and maintain your wood-burning appliance regularly based on the recommendations of a qualified person.
    • When do the warm season burning prohibitions apply?

      The prohibitions apply during the warm season from May 15 to September 15 each year. Starting on May 15, 2021, you will be prohibited from using your wood-burning appliance during the warm season, unless it is a home’s sole source of heat, or it is in an off-grid home located outside the Urban Containment Boundary, or there is an emergency (such as a power outage lasting 3 hours or more).

    • What is the Urban Containment Boundary?

      The Urban Containment Boundary (UCB) designates the area or “footprint” in the region within which urban development may occur. The UCB is defined in Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping our Future (page 15), the regional growth strategy, which was accepted by all Metro Vancouver members and the Metro Vancouver Board in 2011 (Greater Vancouver Regional District Regional Growth Strategy Bylaw No. 1136, 2010, and as amended from time to time).

      The new residential indoor wood burning bylaw treats wood-burning appliances within the UCB more strictly than appliances outside it, because smoke from a single wood-burning appliance is likely to impact more people within the UCB, where there is higher population density.

    • Why is the start date of restricted use different for the Village of Lions Bay?

      Village of Lions Bay residents expressed broad concerns about the implications of restrictions on wood-burning appliances in a community without access to natural gas, particularly if there are power outages. The Village of Lions Bay requested that Metro Vancouver implement an extended deadline for their community.

    • What if I rely on wood as a sole source of heat for my home?

      If you rely on wood heating as the only source of heat in your home, you must submit a declaration of compliance with best burning practices by September 15, 2022. Warm season restrictions (May 15 – September 15) do not apply for homes with no other source of heat.

      If wood burning is the sole source of heat and you are inside the Urban Containment Boundary (UCB), you need to register eligible appliances with Metro Vancouver by September 15, 2022 to continue using them after September 2025. Appliances outside the UCB do not need to be registered.

    • What if I need to use my wood-burning appliance?

      In the following instances, you may use any wood-burning appliance:

      • During emergencies, such as power outages lasting more than three hours.
      • Households where a wood-burning appliance provides the only source of heat*.
      • In remote, off-grid locations located outside the Urban Containment Boundary.
      • If operated within a low-income household.

      * declaration and registration requirements apply within the Urban Containment Boundary after September 15, 2022
  • Background Information
    • Do I have to remove an existing fireplace or woodstove from my home?

      Removing an existing fireplace or woodstove is not required under the bylaw. Anyone who chooses to replace an old uncertified wood-burning appliance with a new low emission appliance can apply for a rebate through Metro Vancouver’s wood stove exchange program. Information about the rebates, appliance eligibility, and the process for applying can be found on Metro Vancouver's wood smoke reduction program web page.

    • Should all wood-burning appliances be registered with Metro Vancouver?

      From September 15, 2022, eligible appliances in urban areas, such as those that meet emissions criteria, provide the sole source of heat in a home, or use only manufactured firelogs, must be registered with Metro Vancouver through a free online registration system.

      For more information about emissions standards, see Schedule A of the bylaw.

    • When can I register my appliance?

      Metro Vancouver is currently developing a new online registration system. We will share information on our website and through social media when the system is ready for you to use. Click here to be notified once the system is live. Residential Wood Smoke mailing list.

    • Why do I need to declare compliance with best burning practices?

      Using best burning practices is a requirement of the bylaw that took effect in March 2020 and will reduce wood smoke emissions. By September 15, 2022, all users of wood-burning appliances in the region must submit a declaration of compliance with best burning practices to Metro Vancouver. The declaration confirms that a resident has read the best burning practices and agrees to operate their wood-burning appliances in compliance with these practices.

      The best burning practices declaration must be renewed every 3 years for homes within the Urban Containment Boundary.

    • How will compliance with the bylaw be monitored and enforced?

      Bylaws can be phased in to allow time for people to understand the requirements and prepare before certain requirements take effect. In these early stages, education is the most effective and efficient means of achieving compliance. Enforcement action may progress to warnings, which could be verbal or written, with guidance on how to comply. If non-compliance continues and depending on the severity of the situation, stronger deterrents such as issuing a Notice of Bylaw Violation or Municipal Tickets with fines ranging from $100 to $500 may be considered.

    • Will there be education programs to support the new bylaw?

      Metro Vancouver will be raising awareness about the new bylaw and the impacts of wood smoke emissions on public health. These requirements come into force in incremental steps over several years. Initially, promoting compliance with the bylaw will focus on education and outreach about the new requirements and ways to reduce wood smoke emissions through platforms including Metro Vancouver’s webpage, social media, and wood heat workshops at various locations across the region.

      If you want to stay informed about the bylaw or our air quality management programs, you can join our mailing lists.

    • Do I have to register twice if I own two wood-burning appliances?

      Yes. You must register each eligible appliance that is being operated within a residence that is located in the Urban Containment Boundary by September 15, 2022.

    • Do I have to register wood-burning appliances in outbuildings or accessory buildings?

      Yes. If your property is within the Urban Containment Boundary, wood-burning appliances used in accessory buildings on a residential property, such as workshops, must be registered.

    • Who can I contact if I have concerns about emissions from a wood-burning appliance?

      You can report any concerns about emissions from residential wood smoke with Metro Vancouver by calling the complaint line at 604-436-6777, or using an online web form. Metro Vancouver records the details you provide and protects personal information as required under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The officer assigned to follow up on your complaint may call you for additional information, if you have agreed to that.

​Red​​​ucing wood smoke

Metro Vancouver offers a Community wood smoke reduction program, educational workshops, and other initiatives to help re​​duce wood smoke.​​​

 

 

Residential Wood Burning Regulation 2020Residential Wood Burning Regulation 2020459154087

This webpage provides a simplified summary of sections of the Bylaw. It is not legal advice and does not provide an interpretation of the law. In the event of any conflict or difference between this webpage and the Bylaw, the Bylaw is correct and legal and must be followed.​

 Videos

 

 

Best Burning Practices - Residential Wood Burninghttps://vimeo.com/500646425, Best Burning Practices - Residential Wood BurningBest Burning Practices - Residential Wood Burning
Residential Wood Smokehttps://vimeo.com/219170181, Residential Wood SmokeResidential Wood Smoke
Declaration and Registration – Residential Indoor Wood Burninghttps://vimeo.com/725078417, Declaration and Registration – Residential Indoor Wood BurningDeclaration and Registration – Residential Indoor Wood Burning

 Related links

 

 

Metro Vancouver Regional District Residential Indoor Wood Burning Emission Regulation Bylaw No. 1303, 2020https://metrovancouver.org/boards/Bylaws/MVRD_Bylaw_1303.pdf, Metro Vancouver Regional District Residential Indoor Wood Burning Emission Regulation Bylaw No. 1303, 2020Metro Vancouver Regional District Residential Indoor Wood Burning Emission Regulation Bylaw No. 1303, 2020
See today’s wood smoke forecasthttps://gis.metrovancouver.org/maps/Air, See today’s wood smoke forecastSee today’s wood smoke forecast
Best Burning Practices Rack Cardhttps://metrovancouver.org/services/air-quality-climate-action/Documents/best-burning-practices-rack-card.pdf, Best Burning Practices Rack CardBest Burning Practices Rack Card
Residential Wood Burning Bylaw Rack Cardhttps://metrovancouver.org/services/air-quality-climate-action/Documents/residential-wood-burning-bylaw-rack-card.pdf, Residential Wood Burning Bylaw Rack CardResidential Wood Burning Bylaw Rack Card
Residential Wood Smoke mailing listhttps://metrovancouver.org/services/air-quality-climate-action/mailing-list, Residential Wood Smoke mailing listResidential Wood Smoke mailing list
Wood Smoke Awarenesshttps://metrovancouver.org/services/air-quality-climate-action/Documents/wood-smoke-awareness-brochure.pdf, Wood Smoke AwarenessWood Smoke Awareness
Community Wood Smoke Reduction Programhttps://metrovancouver.org/services/air-quality-climate-action/community-wood-smoke-reduction-program, Community Wood Smoke Reduction ProgramCommunity Wood Smoke Reduction Program
Residential Indoor Wood Burning Declaration and Registration Systemhttps://service.metrovancouver.org/RIWB/, Residential Indoor Wood Burning Declaration and Registration SystemResidential Indoor Wood Burning Declaration and Registration System

Stay connected


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Sign Up​​​

Contact​​


For questions or concerns not covered on our website or for assistance with registration and declaration contact us by:

  • Email
  • 604-451-6677​​​​


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