Critics are taking aim at a Montreal bylaw to come in effect in 2020 that would ban wood burning stoves or fireplaces unless they emit no more than 1.3 grams per hour of fine particles, a tiny fraction of what stoves currently spew.

And the fiercest criticism of the stringent new regulations, perhaps surprisingly, from an environment advocate.

Andre Belisle of the air-pollution awareness group AQPLA tells CTV Montreal that the Montreal approach is counterproductive because it discourages people from replacing their highly-polluting stoves more rapidly.

Many wood stoves currently burn 70-80 grams of fine particles per hour and stoves that comply with the 2020 guidelines are difficult to find.

“It could be included in the bylaw that if people have changed for a stove that emits 4.5, it will be considered okay in 2020,” said Belisle.

Stoves that comply to the 1.3 standard are currently almost impossible to find, he says. 

“The problem is that wood stove manufacturers are not ready to build the quantity we need," he said.

Belisle believes that emissions could be reduced by up to 85 percent by 2020 if gradual, less demanding restrictions were enacted more rapidly.