MPP Ernie Hardeman teams up with Insurance Bureau of Canada to put Carbon Monoxide Alarms in Woodstock homes

Today, Ernie Hardeman, MPP for Oxford, partnered with Insurance Bureau of Canada to donate carbon monoxide alarms for the homes of Woodstock residents and to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

“Carbon monoxide is often referred to as the silent killer, as you cannot see it, smell it, or taste it,” said Ernie Hardeman, MPP for Oxford. “The only way we can protect ourselves and our families is to install carbon monoxide detectors in our homes and speak up about the importance of having these alarms to those around us.”

IBC contributed 150 carbon monoxide alarms to the Woodstock Fire Department, in Woodstock, Ontario, for local distribution. As part of their campaign to raise awareness about the need for carbon monoxide alarms in all homes with a fuel burning appliance or attached garage, IBC has so far donated over 800 alarms to fire departments across Ontario, and is donating additional units over the coming months.

“It is through donations such as these made by the Insurance Bureau of Canada and the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation that enable the us to continue our program goals of stopping the silent killer”, said Acting Fire Chief Jeff Slager of the Woodstock Fire Department. “On-going education of the risks associated with carbon monoxide, and the ability to provide alarms to those who are not protected, greatly reduces the chances of our Community facing any more tragedies associated with this deadly gas.”

“Despite the serious threat of carbon monoxide poisoning, many Canadians do not have carbon monoxide alarms in their home,” said Kim Donaldson, Vice-President Ontario, IBC. “Events like today help create awareness about the steps Ontarians can take to protect themselves and their families.”

John Gignac, a retired veteran of the Brantford Fire Department and Executive Director of the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for C O Education, was in Woodstock today and joined Mr. Hardeman at the event. Mr. Gignac founded the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation following the deaths of his niece, OPP constable Laurie Hawkins, her husband Richard and their two young children, Cassandra and Jordan. The family died in December 2008 when a clogged vent from their gas fireplace forced deadly carbon monoxide back into their home. They did not have a carbon monoxide alarm.

“It is especially meaningful being in Woodstock today,” Mr. Gignac said. “It’s here in Woodstock where Laurie, Richard and the children lived life to the fullest before this senseless accident took them away from us. A carbon monoxide alarm would have alerted them to the poisonous gas in their home and would have saved their lives. We can’t change the past and bring them back, but we can change the future by ensuring that no more lives are taken by something so preventable.

“Please, help me honour Laurie’s legacy by installing a carbon monoxide alarm in your home today,” Gignac continued.  “Laurie spent her entire career in public safety and I know that she would want her story remembered to make sure that what happened to her family never happens to another.”

Ontario law requires that carbon monoxide alarms be installed in all residential dwellings that contain at least one fuel-burning appliance (e.g., gas water heater or gas furnace), fireplace or an attached garage.

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About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 120,000 Canadians, pays $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $49 billion.

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If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.

To schedule an interview, please contact:

Andrew McGrath

Manager, Media Relations
416-362-2031 ext. 4312