Using Special Effect Pyrotechnics – Overview

If you use special effects pyrotechnics—whether you are reproducing a visual gunshot effect during a stage play, providing a waterfall of silver sparks for a rock concert, or destroying a car in a film scene—you must be certified by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). There are four classes of certification:

  • Pyrotechnician
  • Senior Pyrotechnician
  • Special Effects Pyrotechnician
  • Special Effects Pyrotechnician – Detonating Cord

Certification for all classes lasts five years. If you currently hold a certificate, the Explosives Regulatory Division (ERD) will send you a reminder when it is time to renew.

Pyrotechnician

You can be certified as a Pyrotechnician if you have completed the Pyrotechnics Safety and Legal Awareness Course. This lets you use designated special effect pyrotechnics that have been authorized as suitable for use by an unsupervised Pyrotechnician.  As a Pyrotechnician, you can also use all other authorized articles and powders as long as you are supervised by a Senior Pyrotechnician or Special Effects Pyrotechnician.

Senior Pyrotechnician

As a Senior Pyrotechnician, you can use all authorized articles and powders classified as Special Effect Pyrotechnics. You can also use special purpose pyrotechnics for the film and television industry as long as you are supervised by a Special Effects Pyrotechnician.  

Special Effects Pyrotechnician

As a Special Effects Pyrotechnician you can use all authorized articles and powders classified as Special Effect Pyrotechnics. You can assemble and use special purpose pyrotechnics for the film and television industry. You can also use initiation systems and detonating cord under the supervision of a Special Effects Pyrotechnician – Detonating Cord.  

Special Effects Pyrotechnician – Detonating Cord

If you are certified as a Special Effects Pyrotechnician – Detonating Cord, you can use all authorized articles and powders classified as special effect pyrotechnics. You are certified to use initiation systems and detonating cord and can assemble and use special-purpose pyrotechnics for the film and television industry.

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