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Ontario passes law mandating carbon monoxide alarms in homes

Photo caption: MPP Ernie Hardeman (l) and John Gignac celebrate the passing of Ontario's carbon monoxide alarm law after five years of hard work
Photo caption 2: MPP Ernie Hardeman (l) and John Gignac discuss carbon monoxide alarm technology

(NC) – It took five years, but Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman's private members bill, The Hawkins- Gignac Act, which will require carbon monoxide alarms in Ontario homes has finally become law.

“Carbon monoxide is colourless, odourless and tasteless so the only way to know whether this poisonous gas is in your home is with a carbon monoxide alarm,” said Hardeman. “This is an important step in ensuring Ontario families are protected against carbon monoxide poisoning.”

Carbon monoxide is a leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in North America.

Hardeman first introduced the Hawkins-Gignac bill on December 11, 2008. He was forced to re-introduce it three more times after it was lost when the Legislature was prorogued. The bill is named after Laurie (nee Gignac) and Richard Hawkins and their children Cassandra and Jordan who were tragically killed by carbon monoxide in their Woodstock home shortly before it was introduced.

“It has been five painful years since we lost Laurie and her family,” said John Gignac, co-executive director of the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education and Laurie's uncle.  “I know they are looking down very pleased that this law has finally passed.  The Hawkins and Gignac families, and any family touched by carbon monoxide tragedy, owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Hardeman for his tenacity.  Thanks to him, Ontarians will now become better educated about this silent killer and the importance of installing CO alarms in their home.  There is no doubt lives will be saved as a result of this law.”

Currently, carbon monoxide alarms are only required in homes built after August 6, 2001. This new law mandates CO alarms in any home that has a potential source of carbon monoxide including a gas heating system, gas or wood fireplace, gas appliance or water heater, or an attached garage or carport.

Said Hardeman, “I hope that everyone will have a functioning carbon monoxide alarm because it will protect their family - and now, it's the law.”

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