Hawkins Gignac Act Passes Second Reading

QUEEN’S PARK – Today the Ontario Legislature gave second reading to Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman’s private members bill,the Hawkins Gignac Act, which would prevent tragedies by requiring carbon monoxide detectors in Ontario homes.

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

Bill 20, 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.

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. Laurie’s uncle, John Gignac was at the Ontario Legislature to support the bill.

“Now is the time for all parties to set aside partisanship and pass this law,” said John Gignac, executive director of the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education.  “In the three years since my niece Laurie Hawkins and her family died from this silent killer, more lives have been lost here in this province and across Canada.  Many others were spared when CO alarms warned them before a tragedy could occur.  We’ve been close before, but Ontario needs to step up now – to save future lives from carbon monoxide poisoning, and, lead the way for other provinces and territories to follow.”

During today’s debate Hardeman pointed out the many lives that have been saved in municipalities with bylaws requiring detectors, such as the one recently past in Brantford.

“John Gignac talked about the dangers of carbon monoxide at my church,” said Brantford resident Pamela Humber.  “I asked him to drop by my home which he did, and he would not leave without installing a CO alarm.  That saved my life.  Less than a year later the alarm John had installed went off.  The insert in my chimney had collapsed and carbon monoxide was building up in my home.  I had no idea there was a problem.  Now I know, firsthand, that I need a professional inspection each year and must have CO alarms in my home.  Every home in Ontario should do the same.”

This is the third time that the Hawkins Gignac Act has received second reading support in the Ontario Legislature. Twice before the bill died on the order paper when the Legislature was prorogued.

“We need to work together to pass this bill as soon as possible so we can avoid more tragedies,” said Hardeman. “But, as always, 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