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It’s now mandatory. Do you have one?

A new law making carbon monoxide detectors mandatory in all Ontario homes went into effect last Wednesday.

The new regulation, which became effective on October 15, updates Ontario’s Fire Code following the passage of Bill 77 last year. These updates are based on recommendations from a Technical Advisory Committee which was led by the Office of the Fire Marshall and Emergency Management and included experts from fire services, the hotel and rental housing industries, condo owners and alarm manufacturers.

Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week will take place November 1-8, 2014

Bill 77 is also known as the Hawkins-Gignac Act. It is named after a Woodstock family. OPP Const. Laurie Hawkins, her husband Richard and their two children, Cassie and Jordan died in a tragic carbon monoxide leak in their home in December 2007. They did not have a carbon monoxide alarm.

Carbon monoxide detectors will now be required near all sleeping areas in residential homes and in the service rooms, and adjacent sleeping areas in multi-residential units. Carbon monoxide alarms can be hardwired, battery-operated or plugged into the wall.

Quick Facts

  • Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless and tasteless.
  • More than 50 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning in Canada, including 11 on average in Ontario.
  • Bill 77, an Act to Proclaim Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week and to amend the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997, received royal assent in December 2013.
  • The first Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week will take place November 1-8, 2014.
  • The Ontario Building Code requires the installation of carbon monoxide alarms in homes and other residential buildings built after 2001.

Safety Tips

Below are some carbon monoxide safety tips, provided by the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education:

  • Install at least one CSA-6.19.01 approved carbon monoxide detector outside bedrooms. However, it is advised to install one on every floor.
  • Check the expiry date of existing detector and replace any devices built before 2008. Alarms need to be replaced every 7-10 years depending on the brand.
  • Have a licensed technician inspect your fuel burning appliances (re. furnace, range, fireplace, water heater) annually, to ensure they are in proper working order and vented correctly.
  • For families with older parents or relatives, help them inspect their detectors.
  • Replace batteries in your detector annually, or opt for models with 10-year sealed lithium batteries that never need to be changed.
  • When a detector sounds, make sure everyone is out of the house and call 911. Exposure to carbon monoxide reduces a person”s ability to think clearly, so don”t delay clearing out.

Kidde Canada has published a very helpful CO information sheet and law guide in PDF format. It is available on their website.

Another great website with valuable information is They also have a very good CO Safety Guide in PDF format.

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