WOODSTOCK- Today, Ernie Hardeman, Oxford MPP, announced that when the Ontario Legislature is called back he will reintroduce his private members bill, the Hawkins Gignac Act which would require carbon monoxide detectors in all homes.

“Carbon monoxide is the number one cause of accidental poisoning in North America,” said Hardeman. “We need to ensure that all Ontario families have working detectors in their homes to avoid more tragedies.”

Hardeman has introduced the bill three times. The most recent was passed by the Legislative Committee on Social Policy, with all party support. Unfortunately the bill once again died when the legislature was prorogued in October. 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 in 2008.

John Gignac, who is the uncle of Laurie Hawkins and co-founder of the Hawkins- Gignac Foundation for CO Education added his support for the bill.

“Four members of my family lost their lives from carbon monoxide poisoning, and more people have died in the province since we began, said Gignac. “This Bill is a no-brainer. I’m determined to see CO alarms become law so other lives can be spared and the memory of my family can be honored.”

The Hawkins Gignac Act would require carbon monoxide alarms in all homes that have either a fuel burning appliance or an attached storage garage. In multi-residential buildings detectors would be required in suites with a fuel burning appliance or adjacent to a garage or service room with a fuel burning appliance. Currently detectors are only required in homes built after August 6, 2001.

“As the Fire Chief of an Ontario municipality that has seen, firsthand, the tragic events that have occurred as a result of CO poisoning, we have to do everything possible to prevent this in the future,” said Scott C. Tegler Fire Chief, City of Woodstock. “Community education is a key component, however early detection is necessary to warn individuals and families of possible CO presence in their living space. The Ontario government needs to address this issue with urgency, and see that proposed legislation requiring mandatory CO alarms is passed. No one wishes to see another tragic event occur, knowing we had the opportunity to make a difference.”

Recently a 71 year-old man in Tiny Township died after collapsing inside his home the suspected cause is carbon monoxide poisoning. Police are reminding people it is even more important to ensure you have a working carbon monoxide detector when the heat is on and the windows closed.

“Carbon monoxide is odourless, colourless and tasteless, making it undetectable without a carbon monoxide alarm,” said Hardeman. “I encourage people not to wait for it to become law before protecting themselves and their families by installing a carbon monoxide detector.”

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For more information, contact:
Ernie Hardeman, MPP Oxford
(416) 325-1239