Ontario passes bill requiring carbon monoxide detectors

Ontario lawmakers on Wednesday approved a bill that will require all homes to have a carbon monoxide detector.

Private member's bill passes after five years of political wrangling

Ontario lawmakers on Wednesday approved a bill that will require all homes to have a carbon monoxide detector.

The private member's bill known as the Hawkins Gignac Act went to a final vote in Queen's Park after lingering on politicians' desks for five years. 

The act was named after a family of four who died in 2008 from carbon monoxide poisoning at their Woodstock, Ont., home.

Laurie Hawkins, an OPP officer, her husband Richard, their 14-year-old daughter Cassandra, and their 12-year-old son Jordan all died after a blocked chimney allowed carbon monoxide to seep into the house. 

“It hurts me every time I talk about,” John Gignac, Laurie Hawkins’s uncle, told CBC News.

“I think about Laurie and I think about the family,” he said.

Conservative Ernie Hardeman, who was behind the bill, said people should know how important it is to have a CO detector in their homes. He says in the past 10 years, 250 Ontarians have died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

A similar law was passed earlier this year in Yukon

“I wish I could turn the clock back and put a CO alarm in my niece's house,” Gignac said, “but I can't turn the clock back.”

With this year being the fifth anniversary of the Hawkins’ family's tragedy, the hope is that the law will be a public way to honour four people who their loved ones say are never far from their thoughts.

“There's not a day goes by that we don't remember in some way,” Cas Lamoureux Gignac, Laurie Hawkins’s mother said.

The legislation allows the family’s memory to live on, John Gignac said.

"It creates a legacy and it makes Laurie's memory live on and not in vain," he said.

With files from Canadian Press and CBC's Genevieve Tomney


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