Residential Wood Burning Bylaw

To reduce emissions from residential indoor wood burning, the Metro Vancouver Regional District (MVRD) Board adopted Metro Vancouver Regional District Residential Indoor Wood Burning Emission Regulation Bylaw 1303, 2020. This bylaw is intended to reduce impacts to health and the environment of residential wood smoke. Users of indoor wood burning appliances are required to use best burning practices when operating their appliance (see Schedule B). Future phased measures promote cleaner wood-burning practices and technologies, and more stringent requirements in more densely populated areas will help reduce exposure.

Health Effects

Wood smoke is a mixture of fine particles and many other substances.

The fine particles in wood smoke are associated with respiratory and cardiac issues, particularly for infants, the elderly, and people with existing heart and lung conditions. Wood smoke also contains toxic air contaminants and the potential for harm may increase depending on the nature of the material being burned.

Bylaw 1303, 2020

Best burning practices are currently required whenever an appliance is used. From 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 generally meet performance standards to ensure emissions are low. From 2025 (2032 for Lions Bay), unregistered appliances will not be able to operate, except during emergencies. Beginning in May 2021, there will be a prohibition on using indoor wood burning appliances during the warm season (May to September).



 Bylaw 1303, 2020 - A Bylaw to Regulate the Discharge of Air Contaminants from Residential Indoor Wood Burning Appliances

 

PHASE 1 PHASE 2 PHASE 3
May 2021 
No burning May-Sept unless appliance is the only heat source or in an off-grid home outside the Urban Containment Boundary (UCB).
September 2022
Register appliance if located in the UCB. Declare use of best burning practices.
September 2025
Renew registration and declaration every 3 years if located within the UCB. Unregistered appliances may not be used within the UCB (some exceptions apply).

 

Impacts on Air Quality

Indoor residential wood burning is responsible for more than a quarter of the fine particle emissions in the region – more than any other source. Since heating generally occurs in the fall and winter, wood smoke can contribute even more to the fine particles in the air we breathe during those times of the year.

 

Sources of PM2


Reducing Wood Smoke

Metro Vancouver offers a wood stove exchange program, educational workshops, and other initiatives to help reduce wood smoke.