April 2014 - Code Compliance

Ontario Passes Law Requiring CO Alarms in Dwelling Units

April 1, 2014

The Ontario Legislative Assembly recently passed a new law that will require every home in Ontario equipped with a fuel burning heating system or solid-fuel burning appliance, or has an attached garages or carport, to have a carbon monoxide alarm.

Bill 77, a Private Member’s Bill introduced by Ernie Hardeman, MPP for Oxford, passed Third Reading on November 27, 2013 with the unanimous support of the Ontario Legislative Assembly.

The legislation will be implemented through an amendment to the Fire Prevention and Protection Act, 1997 that will be enforced by local fire departments, similar to the requirement for smoke alarms.

A carbon monoxide or CO alarm can be either battery operated, hardwired or plugged in to an electrical outlet. It is recommended that they be located on each level of the home, especially outside sleeping areas. It is also important that the CO alarm be tested regularly to ensure it is in good working order.

Landlords should add testing of the CO alarms to their list of regular fire protection equipment maintenance inspections along with the inspection of smoke alarms.

CO alarms sniff out carbon monoxide, a colourless and odourless gas which can cause brain damage, suffocation or death. Carbon monoxide poisoning is the number one cause of accidental poisoning deaths in North America.

The initial symptoms of low-level carbon monoxide poisoning include tiredness, headache, dizziness, nausea and shortness of breath and can be confused with the flu. Seniors, young children, pregnant women and people with heart and lung conditions are at greater risk.