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Ontario’s New Carbon Monoxide Law and What it Means to You

Ontario’s New CO Alarm Law – The Hawkins-Gignac Act

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is known as ‘The Silent Killer’ because you can’t see it, taste it or smell it. The only way to detect the presence of the deadly gas is to install a carbon monoxide alarm. On October 15, 2014, the Ontario Government formally enacted a new law – The Hawkins-Gignac Act – making carbon monoxide alarms mandatory in all Ontario homes at risk of CO. This revision to the Ontario Fire Code, supersedes any existing municipal by-laws.

Now, no matter the age of your home, if you have any oil, propane or gas-burning appliances, furnace or water heater, a wood or gas fireplace, or an attached garage or carport, you must have working carbon monoxide alarms installed near sleeping areas. Ontario’s new CO alarm law brings a consistent level of protection to all Ontarians.

CO Safety Tips to Protect Your Family

  • It is law in Ontario to install CSA-approved CO alarms outside sleeping areas.
  • CO alarms are required by law to be replaced within the time frame indicated in the manufacturer’s instructions and/or on the label on the unit. Some new CO alarms offer sealed lithium batteries that last 10 years from activation.
  • For optimal protection, install additional CO alarms on every floor of the home.
  • Have a licenced technician inspect your fuel burning appliances annually, (eg. furnace, range, fireplace, water heater) to ensure they are in proper working order and vented correctly.
  • For families with older parents or relatives, it is wise to help them inspect their CO alarms.
  • CO alarms don’t last forever. They need to be replaced every 7-10 years, depending on the brand.
  • If your alarm goes off get everyone out of the house, stay out and call 911! Exposure to CO reduces your ability to think clearly, so never delay if your alarm goes off and you sense a problem.

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