Are wood fireplaces and wood stoves legal to use in Canada?

The straight answer is yes, and it is true in every Province. But what are the requirements?

First, let’s talk about the regulations in place and upcoming ones.

What is mostly known as a regulation on the Market is the EPA Certification. The EPA is the Environmental Protection Agency in the USA. The EPA has established a regulation to limit the amount of particulates that each wood fireplace can emit up through its chimney. As of May 2019, the limit in the USA is set at 4.5g/hr. On May 15th 2020, the new limit will be set at 2 g/hr and 2.5g/hr depending on the testing protocol being used by manufacturers.

In Canada, we have our own standard as well. It is called CSA B-415. That standard limits the particulates emissions to 4.5g/hr. That standard was established to somewhat mirror the American one, with enhancements to include warm air wood furnaces. (who had not been included in the American EPA) There is no timetable as to when and if CSA B415.1 will be mirroring the new limits of the EPA.

What about my Province?

In Canada, each Province is free to implement its own limits on wood stove emissions. They can elect not to regulate or to choose between the EPA limits or the CSA B415 limits or use both.

To help out in seeing what is the state of the affairs for each Province, HPBA Canada has sorted this out for the whole industry. Here’s the chart as set by HPBA Canada:

How do I tell if the stove I am about to buy is truly approved?

On the certification label, it will state if the stove or fireplace is EPA approved or CSA B415 approved. There is also a list of stoves and fireplaces that are approved for Canada. This list is provided by a Certification Agency. Here’s the link to the official list of CAS B415 approved fireplaces and stoves. https://www.polytests.com/registry/#

The USA EPA publishes a list of approved wood and pellet stoves. Click here to look at the current list. Please note that all stoves on this list are approved for use throughout Canada. In the following provinces, since May 15th 2020, only ones that are NSPS 2020 Compliant are authorized to be sold:

  • British Columbia
  • Quebec

Ontario and the other Provinces continue to approve stoves with emissions up to 4.5g/hr beyond 2020. The Nunavut Territory is the only area where there is no regulation with regards to wood heating.

Why does the certification label state that ‘It cannot be sold past May 15th 2020’?

This statement does not apply to Canada. It has been mandated by the US EPA and it applies to the United States only. The whole industry recognizes it is rather confusing from a Canadian stand point, but the statement cannot be removed for now. Industry stakeholders are working with the EPA to have a mention that this applies only to the USA.

What about Montreal? Does it not have its own regulation on wood heating?

Yes it does. Montreal has a law that limits the use of wood burning appliances. They have to be under 2.5g/hr in particulate emissions. These appliances must be under 2.5g/hr and either EPA Certified (on the EPA list above) or CSA B415 Approved. (Polytest list)

For more details on the cities and suburbs around Montreal, visit the HPBAC Website: http://hpbacanada.org/consumer-resources/wood-burning-in-canada/ .

If you want to learn more on the subject of the regulation in Montreal, we have the following report that is very well documented: https://welovefire.com/stoves/new-epa-standard-for-wood-heating-appliances-how-are-montreal-canada-and-the-united-states-prepared/

Ultimately, is wood heating good for the environment?

Yes it is. There are many debates on the subject. Some folks who are sincere in their effort will claim wood smoke is detrimental to our health. In reality, exposing ourselves directly to smoke from any source is not good for the health. But, we have to look at it from a global standpoint.

To operate our cars, our heating and air conditioning, lighting, etc, we need energy. Energy comes from burning fossil fuels, shale oil and gas, coal, nuclear, wood, solar and hydro. The global effort is to reduce the footprint, the emissions while increasing efficiency. Every industry has done a tremendous job in that regard, including wood heating. Wood stoves emissions from 20 years ago are now reduced by over 90% and efficiency has increased over 30% on average. That is a spectacular improvement!

On the global footprint, firewood is locally sourced, so there is less transportation involved compared to other energy sources. Compared to electricity transportation where over 70% is wasted with power lines emitting and releasing electricity, wood fares better.  Wood is also carbon neutral. It is a natural resource that is renewed within 30 to 70 years which is a very short span when compared to fossil fuels. Wood heat produces ashes as a residual and it is good for the environment. Compared to nuclear waste, the disposal of solar panels and batteries, wood is again much better for the environment on the long-term spectrum.

In Conclusion

We have to agree, that there is always an angle on things. There will always be opposers to any technology and there will be promoters as well. We believe wood heating serves a purpose of enjoyment, independence, and savings for homeowners. That is essentially why we love wood heat. We’re happy to see the wood fireplace manufacturers invest in improving the technology by lowering emissions and increasing efficiency. They are playing a key role in keeping the air we breathe clean and healthy!

Below is a list of We Love Fire's Experts that service Virginia (VA)

Mechanicsville, VA

Hearth & Home Shoppe
8151 Mechanicsville Tpk, Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Learn More

Roanoke, VA

Dixie Building Products Inc.
3342 Melrose Ave NW, Roanoke, VA 24017


For more information, contact your local We Love Fire dealer..

10 Responses

  1. Thanks for the concise explanation Dominique. I am certain this will clarify the situation for any and all readers. I would however add that in the end, manufacturers have for the most part stepped up to the plate to improve the engineering of wood burning appliances but the ultimate responsibility for clean burning heaters is in the hands of the users. It has to be repeated regularly that keeping your appliance in good working order, sweeping the chimney at least once a year and burning ONLY properly dried firewood and not chemically treated paper and wood will go along way to avoid adding unwanted pollution into Canada's pristine ecosystems. Regards from Quebec City
    • Dominique Page
      Thanks Neil for your comment. I could not agree more with you! All the best!
  2. […] Another article of interest on the subject is available for Canadian Residents. https://welovefire.com/fireplaces/are-wood-fireplaces-and-wood-stoves-legal-to-use-in-canada/ […]
  3. Hello I am looking for info on a older " Triumph wood burning fireplace insert to see if it has a csa listing
    • Dominique Page
      Thanks for your message! Well, that Triumph makes us go back in time :) That unit was Safety Listed back in the day. There would be a label similar to that one somewhere on your insert: https://welovefire.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Triumph.jpg If you were to install it, it is no longer approved for a new installation.
  4. Hi Dominique , Quick question... I live in BC and I understand that as of May this year only NSPS 2020 certified stoves can be sold here. Do you know if it would be actually illegal to import one from another location... ie. Europe? I've got my heart set on a particular stove ... but it wouldn't be NSPS 2020 certified. It's intended installation is in an off-grid cabin, so no inspections would be happening, I'd just be installing it myself to the required standards for clearances etc. My main concern is that I arrange the import, then it gets seized at customs! Is this possible or likely? Btw... the stove is a Stuv 30 Compact ... so it's not some obscure manufacturer... my issue is that Stuv have SEVERELY hobbled their damping functionality in the North American market making their stoves no longer really desirable or even fit for purpose in my opinion. The European versions of the same stoves retain full damping functionality. Thanks!
    • Dominique Page
      Good morning! Thanks for your message. You made great work on your research! A couple things. I would doubt any manufacturer would ship 'illegal' products into Canada. They expose themselves to steep fines that way and this could become harder for that manufacturer to ship again into Canada. You are correct that customs may catch the 'illegal' stove and that could give you trouble. You are correct that the air control from the Stuv products has disappeared for North American consumers. That begin said, I would like to suggest something for you. If you are not in a rush, the Hearthstone Bari will be available late fall. The look is stunning and it will have a variable air control. Have a look: https://www.hearthstonestoves.com/product/bari/ This is the best option from our viewpoint. If you are pressed to get it done sooner, other 'modern' looks are available with beautiful air controls. Here's one we like: https://supremem.com/novo_18.php Hope this is helpful! Dominique
    • Bonjour Dominique, nous avons construit un chalet 4 saisons, 3 ch a coucher, pas de sousol,au sud de Winnipeg. Je remarque que l'info que je trouve au sujet des fours vari dépendant de la province. Par exemple, un distributeur içi a suggéré le poêle à bois Osburn 1700 pour mes besoins, mais, en appelant SBI, leur représentant au Québec, suggére le Osburn 2000 disant que les max BTU's est important parmi tout (cela me surprend). Aussi, j'ai été fortement avisé de vérifier les garanties (je comparais le Drolet1800 au Osburn 1700), et j'ai trouvé que le Osburn est exact au Enerzone, mais le Drolet et inférieur. Nous posons une fournaise et un système de circulation d'air comme les codes provinciales nous décrit, et cela aidera certainement pour chauffer chaque pièce (le poêle n'aura pas d'evantail) Alors...qui croire pour mes besoins, SBI ou leur représentant local? Ou, est ce que je choisi un fournisseur différent? Aussi, a t'il un de qualité entre les poêles de vendeurs indépendants et ceux des grands magasins le Costco et Canadian Tire? Merci, michel khan 204.998.5554 Winnipeg, Mb
      • Dominique Page
        Bonjour! Merci pour votre commentaire. Je comprends la confusion. Le chauffage au bois est un peu plus subjectif que le chauffage électrique ou au gaz. Pour faire un bon choix de poêle à bois, il est important de savoir quel usage on en fera. Par exemple, si vous comptez l'utiliser tout l'hiver, 24h sur 24, vous allez aimer un poêle qui procure un temps de combustion (burn time) de 8 heures et plus pour chaque charge de bois. Pour y arriver, ça prendra un poêle plus gros ou un poêle catalytique. Si vous allez vous servir de votre poêle un 'samedi' de temps en temps, un poêle plus petit pourra faire l'affaire. Donc, il est important de savoir quel usage vous allez en faire pour ensuite choisir la bonne grosseur d'appareil. Pour ce qui est des garanties: un poêle à bois va généralement avoir une durée de vie de plus de 25 ans. Donc il ne faut pas trop s'en faire avec la garantie. Ce qui est important, c'est de savoir si le manufacturier va être en affaires pour longtemps et supporter son produit pour des pièces de remplacement dans le futur. Pour la différence entre les Costco, Canadian Tire versus les boutiques spécialisées: Le niveau de service est vraiment meilleur en boutique. Ils peuvent aussi installer l'appareil et assurer que l'installation est sécuritaire pour vous et votre famille. Il ne faut jamais oublier que nous faisons un feu dans la maison...il faut que ce soit installé de façon professionelle et sécuritaire. Au plaisir!
  5. I want to purchase an old cook stove. Seems in good condition, my husband is giving me grief on certification. I don't fully understand how a wood stove could have above harmful emissions over others. Maybe size but I would think the wood you burn is the larger factor. His issue on it is home insurance. What I'm ultimately wondering is could I still own the stove? is it an issue in Canada?
    • Dominique Page
      Good day Louise Thanks for your message. We understand your desire to get a cookstove, they are awesome! Two factors to take into consideration. First, about the emissions. Wood combustion has evolved over the past decade. EPA certified fireboxes burn up to 90% cleaner than non-EPA certified units. Older cookstoves therefore will smoke more than newer EPA certified ones. The other factor is the ULC certification that your home insurance will be looking for. That is also important for your own safety. Keep in mind you are making a fire inside your home. It needs to be safe. In order to find out if the cookstove you want to buy is ULC tested for safety, you need to look for a certification label, similar to this one here: <a href="https://welovefire.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Woodstove-certification-label.jpeg" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Woodstove certification label</a> Hope this answers your questions. Stay safe and keep warm! Dominique

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