Comox Valley Residents Support Wood Burning

Comox Valley Residents Support Wood Burning

Survey Reveals that Residents Want Alternatives to Bylaws Restricting Wood Stoves

(COURTENAY) – Residents of the Comox Valley recently responded to a survey (conducted by Leger) regarding opinions towards wood burning. 300 local respondents aged 18 and older participated in the telephone survey, which took place from September 23 to 29, 2022.

Results reveal a clear mismatch between the Comox Valley Regional District’s (CVRD) current policy direction and local public opinion. Among residents, there is strong agreement (92%) that people should be able to upgrade their old inefficient heating systems with a newer, cleaner burning system of their choice. Furthermore, 79% agreed that this choice should be left up to residents, not local government.

Residents also indicated how bylaws restricting wood stove installation will influence their vote during the upcoming election. Generally, residents are more likely to oppose these bylaws (31%) than support them (20%), and after learning about the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association of Canada’s (HPBAC) Three Pillar Plan for addressing regional air quality, over half (56%) of residents said they were likely to vote for a municipal candidate who supports the HPBAC solution.

As an alternative solution to addressing air quality in the Comox Valley, HPBAC presented the Three Pillar Plan to local government in 2021. The plan proposes a comprehensive public education program on better burning practices, along with a targeted wood stove exchange program, and a dry and seasoned wood lot to make proper fuel more accessible. Collectively, these activities will translate into cleaner burning and improved air quality throughout the community.

“This reaffirms what the community wants,” said Jeff Loder, Director of Public Affairs for HPBAC. “When you compare these findings with the current discourse around wood burning, public opinion just doesn’t line up with what we’ve seen from the CVRD.”

The survey showed that just over one-quarter of Comox Valley residents use wood burning for at least some of their home heating. When asked about the practicality of electric heating, only 30% of residents believe it’s feasible for everyone in the region to switch to 100% electric heating.

“Residents of the Valley rely on their wood stoves, and these results support that,” said Jamie Payne, Owner & Operator of Norse Heating in Comox. “We face frequent power outages and other available heating options are often too expensive, so it’s not hard to understand why wood stoves are a necessity for so many people.”

Results also showed that public awareness of bylaws limiting the installation of wood stoves has increased over the last year. “The results illustrate that public consultation was insufficient, and the people are looking for a better way forward” said Tomi Wittwer, Owner & Operator of Comox Fireplace and Patio.

The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association of Canada is the national not-for-profit industry association that represents businesses which produce, sell, or service appliances and accessories in the hearth and barbecue industries in Canada.

For more information on HPBAC’s Three Pillar Plan, visit: 

To learn more about the Comox Valley bylaws that restrict the installation of wood stoves, visit:

Open Letter to BC’s Premier

Dear Premier,

Imagine the following scenario.

You are a hardworking resident of BC, earning your livelihood by manufacturing, distributing, and selling fireplaces and woodstoves. You are one of the 3,000 people directly employed in the industry in BC, and part of a larger group of upwards of 7,000 residents whose livelihood is derived from the sector.

You and your colleagues across the 60 Small and Medium Businesses in BC are working relentlessly to adapt and adjust to the challenges created by inflation, supply chain issues, and increased raw material costs. Specifically, you have iden­tified and communicated to government how shortages in electronic components are negatively impacting industry, and have asked for collaboration opportunities to mitigate the impact.

In this context, you were then informed by a public Ministry of Finance notice released near the end of February that an additional 5% sales tax on fireplaces will be imposed starting April 1st. You quickly realize the decision was made without consulting you, your colleagues, or any of the 3,000 people working in the industry.

From conception to implementation, all evidence points to a policy process lacking in transparency and due diligence. On top of no consultation during the policy development stage, which you would have willingly been a part of, industry was not given one phone call, email, or heads-up of any type. You were not given a single opportunity to provide input on a decision that directly impacts a vital BC industry, or even consulted on the implementation which itself is problematic and costly for BC’s Small and Medium Businesses.

Now ask yourself if this meets your responsibility to foster respectful, inclusive, and transparent public policy development. Was this policy process built on the principles of procedural fairness, proper notice, and amenability to discussion; so that even when a decision negatively impacts an industry there is time to consider how to mitigate these impacts?

Respectfully, the BC Hearth Industry

BCA | March 25, 2022

BC PST Increase

HPBAC is currently developing and executing various issue-specific advocacy strategies in British Columbia. These include the Comox Valley Campaign, electronic components advocacy, Vancouver building codes advocacy, and advocacy related to Clean BC: Roadmap to 2030. The latest development is the imposition of a provincial sales tax (PST) affecting fossil fuel combustion systems. Starting April 1, 2022, heat pumps will be exempt from PST while the PST on the purchase or lease of fossil fuel combustion systems will increase from 7% to 12%. Fireplaces are specifically included on the list of affected systems. 

HPBAC recently held a meeting with BC members and the HPBAC Government Affairs Committee to discuss the PST issue. We’re taking a stand in BC and advocating against the tax increase with a letter-writing campaign. Click on the button below to sign and send a letter to Premier Horgan, and let him know that you oppose the PST increase.

CPU | March 25, 2022

CP and TCRC Collective Bargaining

Collective bargaining between Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) over labour stability failed on March 20th. While CP has agreed to a number of conditions, the two groups are facing an impasse regarding CP’s Defined Benefit Pension Plan. 

Following a 72-hour lockout notice from CP on March 16th, TCRC workers began picketing on March 20th. Global supply chain conditions and the current geopolitical context make this work stoppage especially problematic. Therefore, many are requesting that federal government intervene to ensure that CP operations resume as soon as possible. On March 15th, HPBAC signed a Letter to Ministers from Canada’s business community regarding possible work stoppage at CP initiated by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. 

CVRD | March 25, 2022

The Comox Valley Campaign against existing and proposed bans on wood stoves in the region launched on February 15th. The campaign continues to grow as it approaches the first month mark, with an unwavering commitment from local members and an outpouring of support from residents. Digital performance reports indicate that our reach is growing on a regular basis (click here to view the latest campaign analytics). Most recently, local members and HPBAC staff met with the CVRD Board to discuss the issue. 

To support the campaign, please do the following:
  1. Visit the campaign website at
  2. If you live in the region, send a letter to your local politicians at and take a stand against the ban.
  3. Engage with us on social media & share our posts about the campaign using #SaveOurWoodStoves and #WeCanAllDoBetter:
    • Facebook – HPBACanada
    Twitter – @hpbacanada
    LinkedIn – hearth-patio-and-barbecue-association-of-canada
    Instagram – HPBAC
  4. Contact Meghan O’Reilly at to learn more on how you can help.