Member’s Statements — Carbon Monoxide

November 3, 2014

Mr.Ernie Hardeman: I’m pleased to rise today to recognize Ontario’s first Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, and, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you for your work on this issue.

Six years ago, the Hawkins family in Woodstock were tragically lost to carbon monoxide poisoning due to a blocked vent in their fireplace. Since then, many people have worked to avoid more tragedies. I want to commend John Gignac, Laurie Hawkins’s uncle, who founded the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education and shared his family’s story to help save others. He has become an advocate for detectors not only here in Ontario, but across Canada.

I also want to recognize the Insurance Bureau of Canada. They have worked with me to raise awareness and donated over 2,000 carbon monoxide detectors to Ontario fire departments. Those will be given to the needy.

Last year, this Legislature passed my private member’s bill the Hawkins Gignac Act so all homes in Ontario with a fuel-burning appliance or attached garage are required to have a carbon monoxide detector. You can’t see, smell or taste carbon monoxide, so the only way to know your family is safe is to have a detector.

The bill also created Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, starting November 1 every year, to remind people about the danger. This week, we want to remind everyone to check and make sure their vents and chimneys aren’t blocked, to get fuel-burning appliances serviced regularly, and, most importantly, to make sure that you have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home.