The Hawkins Gignac Act – Bill 143 is a private members bill that was introduced by MPP Ernie Hardeman, the intention of the bill is to amend the building code to make carbon monoxide detectors mandatory in Ontario the same way smoke alarms presently are. The bill has been named in honour of OPP Constable Laurie Hawkins who perished in her home last December along with her husband and two children from carbon monoxide poisoning. The Hawkins family were victims of a poorly ventilated fireplace in their basement that caused the CO level in their home to become toxic. The bill has currently passed second reading in the house and is expected to be passed into law in the near future. Fire departments throughout Ontario are hoping that this takes place before next fall when the heating season once again begins. Should the bill pass the third reading unamended, all Ontario homes will be required to have carbon monoxide detectors on each level of the home and outside all sleeping areas. If this sounds familiar it should, the requirements will be identical to the current smoke alarm laws. Once passed, the law will immediately affect any new homes that have the building permit issued after the bill receives Royal Assent, existing homes will be given 12 months to comply. The best solution for most people will be to replace their existing smoke alarms with combination units. However if history repeats itself, as it often does, I would not wait until the last moment to purchase these units. When the smoke alarm laws changed in 2006 manufacturers could not keep up with the immediate demand and many people had a hard time finding smoke alarms. If you are replacing a smoke alarm in the near future, buy a combination CO detector / smoke alarm. Even if you heat with electricity you will need to comply, there are no exceptions given in the current reading of the bill. Keep in mind that this law will affect any dwelling; houses, apartments, cottages, even hunting camps and camping trailers. If you would like to read the act in full please click on the link shown below.
Hawkins Gignac Act - Bill 143