Special Events Task Force

The Halifax Regional Municipality formed the Special Events Task Force (SETF) in 1996 comprised of representatives from various Municipal, Provincial and Federal Departments and can provide valuable information and assistance on policies, procedures, and best practices concerning events within the Halifax Regional Municipality.

For information on COVID-19 and how it applies to events,  please visit our March 21, 2022 COVID-19 statement

How to plan a special event in the Halifax region

Planning an arts celebration, parade, children’s festival, sporting event, music festival, or a fun run? 

The Halifax Regional Municipality’s Special Events Task Force (SETF) reviews and approves potential events. The Special Event Planning Guide [PDF] outlines the timelines, costs, procedures, and responsibilities of the event organizer and the municipality to ensure the delivery of safe, efficient, and accountable events.

What type of events need permission from the municipality?

The Special Events Task Force (SETF) must approve certain events in Halifax.  Generally, you need to fill out a special event application form for: 

  • any special event being held on municipal land 
  • any event where municipal services will be provided to on municipal & non-municipal land
  • any parades or street closures

You do not need to apply for a block party (please note Traffic/ Right of Way Services requires 21 days’ notice for consideration).

How long does it take to get permission? 

Applications must be submitted, in writing, no less than 120 calendar days in advance of the start of the event.

Any applications received with less than 120 days to go until the proposed event are assessed on a case-by-case basis, as and if scheduling permits. 

Applications received 30 days or less prior to the event date are unlikely to be accepted for review. 

How much will the municipality charge me for my event? 

That will depend on the size of the event and the services required. Event organizers will receive a detailed quote for municipal services (+/- 5%) and must approve the expenses in writing. 

Please note that with a two year hiatus due to COVID-19, applicants should expect municipal service costs for Halifax Regional Police, HRM Streets & Roads, HRM Parks and other Municipal Departments, associated with hosting an event, will have increased since 2019.

Quotes will be provided to organizers within 30 days following presentation and/or review at the Special Events Task Force.

Invoices for municipal services will be issued no later than ninety (90) calendar days after the final day of the event.

Street closures for special events 

Municipal Traffic Services/Right of Way must approve all street closure requests.
Abutter approval is no longer required for street closures, however all successful street closure applicants must inform effected citizens of an approved closure no later than 21 days prior to the start of the event. 

Consumer Grade Fireworks Safety

Display grade or pyrotechnic grade fireworks require a permit as well as a certified person to set off the display. If you are using consumer grade fireworks (ones not requiring a special license to purchase) you do not require a permit. 

It is the responsibility of the property owner and person firing the show to ensure all safety measures for consumer grade fireworks are maintained. Please see the below safety information sheet. It should also be noted that you need to ensure adequate clearances for the display to be safely set off. The distances required should be noted on the consumer grade fireworks packaging or in the manufacturers literature. If no such information is provided, in general, consumer grade fireworks require a 30x30 metre clear space for aerials, and 20x20 metre clear space for ground effects.  The site being used to set off consumer grade fireworks must have the clearances required to safely set off the display.

Other considerations for setting off consumer grade fireworks is compliance with the noise by law, and Provincial burning restrictions. The noise by-law prohibits the use of consumer grade fireworks in residential areas except for on the exempted days listed in the by-law. The user will need to apply for a noise by-law exemption from Halifax Regional Council to be permitted to set consumer grade fireworks off outside the exempted days in the by-law. All consumer grade fireworks are prohibited during any time a Provincial burn ban is in place. 

For information and safety instructions when using consumer grade fireworks, please visit the following website for Halifax Regional Municipality Fire & Emergency Services:

Fireworks | Fire Prevention & Safety | Community Impact | Halifax 

For more information click on link to view Canadian Natural Resources Canada Consumer Fireworks Safety Sheet

For more detailed information on the Special Events Task Force please contact Andrew Cox, Senior Civic Events Coordinator at coxa@halifax.ca or (902)490-4729.

Related documents: 

Special Event Task Force Application [PDF]

Special Event Planning Guide [PDF]

Special Events Administrative Order (AO No. 2014-010-ADM) [PDF]