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Ontario mandates carbon monoxide alarms

Oct. 14, 2014, Ottawa - A change to the Ontario Fire Code comes into effect tomorrow requiring all residences and multi-residential units to have working carbon monoxide alarms installed near sleeping areas or service rooms.

October 14, 2014
By Maria Church

The regulation is the product of Bill 77, The Hawkings-Gignac Act, which passed late last year. The bill also created the province’s first Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, to take place Nov. 1-8 this year.

The name of the act acknowledges the 2008 death of OPP constable Laurie Hawkins, her husband and their children from CO poisoning at their home in Woodstock, Ont.

John Gignac, Laurie Hawkins’ uncle and a retired firefighter, is the leader behind the campaign for CO education. He, along with Ontario’s minister of Community Safety and Correction Services, Yasir Naqvi, and Ontario Fire Marshal Ted Wieclawek, officially announced the provincial regulation in Ottawa today.

“The fatal effects of carbon monoxide left us with an irreplaceable family loss. Keep your family safe and install a CO alarm so we can combat the silent killer,” Gignac said in a press release.

Ontario’s building code already mandates CO alarms homes built after 2001. The regulations now require alarms in all existing homes with a fuel-fired heating system or appliance, fireplace or attached garage.

Wieclawek said in a press release the changes give municipal fire services the authority to conduct inspections and promote CO awareness, which “are significant steps forward for enhancing public safety.”

Though effective tomorrow, the regulation has a phase-in compliance period for homeowners and landlords.

After this period, homes found without a CO alarm will face a fine similar to the fine for not having a smoke alarm.