Canadian province makes CO detectors mandatory in all homes

Last week, lawmakers in Ontario, Canada, passed the Hawkins-Gignac Act, which requires the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in all homes with fuel-burning appliances or heating systems, fireplaces or attached garages.

The law is named after Ontario Provincial Police constable Laurie Hawkins, her husband Richard and their two children Cassandra and Jordan, who were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in their Woodstock, Ontario home in 2008.

“Along with our ongoing education efforts, it is our goal to support all Canadian provinces in passing similar laws to protect all our citizens equally,” John Gignac, Laurie’s uncle and co-chair of the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education said in a statement posted on the foundation’s website. “Not a day goes by that I don't think of the accident and how easily it could have been prevented.”

The bill was initially brought forth in 2009 by Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman. According to statement issued by Canadian electric company Birnie Electric, under the act, homes or apartments built before Aug. 6, 2011 — when the Ontario Building Code was amended — don't have to have carbon monoxide detectors installed. Instead, the bill would require a battery operated or plugged in detector for those residences.