Heating with wood: A by-law to improve air quality

Last updated January 11, 2023
Reading time: 1 min

In Montréal, heating with wood is among the main causes of winter smog, which has a major impact on the environment and our health. The bylaw on wood-burning stoves and fireplaces is designed to improve air quality. Learn more.

Why a by-law on heating with wood?

Pollutants from burning wood, including fine particles, have harmful health effects such as:

  • Aggravation of asthma
  • Childhood bronchitis
  • Lung cancer 
  • Premature death in people with chronic heart or respiratory disease


This is why the city introduced a by-law on wood-burning stoves in 2015. Since then, the use of wood-burning appliances or fireplaces during smog warnings is prohibited. Please note: If your fireplace is non-compliant, the ban is in effect at all times.

A significant impact 

From 2009 to 2019, Montréal collected samples to assess the impact of the city’s wood heating by-law on air quality. The data show a reduction in emissions from wood burning, which shows that the use of wood-burning stoves and fireplaces has been reduced since the first by-law was adopted in 2009. For the 2018-2019 period, there was a 35 per cent reduction in a tracer from wood combustion as compared with the 2017-2018 period. The number of winter smog days is also down: There were only two in 2018 compared with 27 in 2008.

Smog warning

Do you have a wood-burning stove or fireplace? Want to learn more about air quality? Download the WeatherCAN app to receive smog warnings in Montréal. The app also issues Environment Canada alerts.

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