Passage of New Law Provides Solace for Family Forever Affected by Carbon Monoxide Tragedy

 

Hawkins-Gignac Act passes unanimously, making carbon monoxide alarms mandatory

TORONTO, Nov. 27, 2013 /CNW/ - It took five years, but at last something good has come from something unimaginably tragic.

Today the Ontario government has unanimously passed the Hawkins-Gignac Act into law, making carbon monoxide alarms mandatory in all Ontario homes with fuel-burning appliances or heating systems, fireplaces, or attached garages.

"Now, whether your home is new construction or old, the mandatory requirement for CO protection is the same," says John Gignac, co-chair of the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education.

"My family is very thankful that the government has at last protected all Ontarians equally from carbon monoxide by passing this important law named in honour of Laurie's family," Gignac adds. "We will be forever grateful to MPP Ernie Hardeman for his determination in getting his Private Members' Bill voted into law on the fourth try. But there is still much work to be done."

The Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education maintains its priority to continue educating Canadians on the dangers of carbon monoxide; its sources, symptoms and the critical importance of early detection. 

Almost exactly five years ago, OPP constable Laurie Hawkins, her husband Richard and their two children Cassie and Jordan were killed by accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in their Woodstock, Ontario home.   John Gignac is Laurie's uncle and a veteran firefighter.  After the accident he pledged to warn all Canadians about the silent killer, and following the vote at Queen's Park today, said "not a day goes by that I don't think about this accident and how easily it could have been prevented."

Laurie and her family did not have a CO alarm installed in their home.  The deadly gas seeped back into their home due to a blocked chimney vent attached to their gas fireplace.  "If only they had a working CO alarm installed our heartbreak could have been avoided," he added.

With the recent drop in temperature the threat of CO danger is elevated as we need to heat our homes.  But carbon monoxide is a four-season killer, since so many homes today have gas heating systems, water heaters, stoves or other fuel-burning appliances that run year-long.

John Gignac and the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation urge all Ontario residents not to wait until the law takes effect, but to act now and protect their families by installing at least one CO alarm today.

"Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless and tasteless.  The ONLY way it can be detected is with a CSA-approved CO alarm," Gignac says.  "Hundreds of people across Canada have been killed by CO in the past decade. And thousands go to their doctor or the hospital each year thinking they have the flu but are in fact suffering from CO exposure. So install a CO alarm and get some peace of mind."

Video with caption: "Video: Today the Ontario government has unanimously passed the Hawkins-Gignac Act into law, making carbon monoxide alarms mandatory in all Ontario homes with fuel-burning appliances or heating systems, fireplaces, or attached garages. ". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20131127_C5496_VIDEO_EN_33943.mp4&posterurl=http://photos.newswire.ca/images/20131127_C5496_PHOTO_EN_33943.jpg&clientName=The%20Hawkins%2DGignac%20Foundation%20for%20CO%20Education&caption=Video%3A%20Today%20the%20Ontario%20government%20has%20unanimously%20passed%20the%20Hawkins%2DGignac%20Act%20into%20law%2C%20making%20carbon%20monoxide%20alarms%20mandatory%20in%20all%20Ontario%20homes%20with%20fuel%2Dburning%20appliances%20or%20heating%20systems%2C%20fireplaces%2C%20or%20attached%20garages%2E%20%20&title=THE%20HAWKINS%2DGIGNAC%20FOUNDATION%20FOR%20CO%20EDUCATION%20%2D%20Passage%20of%20New%20Law%20Provides%20Solace%20for%20Family%20Forever%20Affected%20by%20Carbon%20Monoxide%20Tragedy&headline=Passage%20of%20New%20Law%20Provides%20Solace%20for%20Family%20Forever%20Affected%20by%20Carbon%20Monoxide%20Tragedy

Video with caption: "Video: B Roll Available for download". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20131127_C5496_VIDEO_EN_33944.mp4&posterurl=http://photos.newswire.ca/images/20131127_C5496_PHOTO_EN_33944.jpg&clientName=The%20Hawkins%2DGignac%20Foundation%20for%20CO%20Education&caption=Video%3A%20B%20Roll%20Available%20for%20download&title=THE%20HAWKINS%2DGIGNAC%20FOUNDATION%20FOR%20CO%20EDUCATION%20%2D%20Passage%20of%20New%20Law%20Provides%20Solace%20for%20Family%20Forever%20Affected%20by%20Carbon%20Monoxide%20Tragedy&headline=Passage%20of%20New%20Law%20Provides%20Solace%20for%20Family%20Forever%20Affected%20by%20Carbon%20Monoxide%20Tragedy

Image with caption: "Ernie Hardeman, MPP, Oxford and John Gignac, Co-Chair, Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education, congratulate each other on the passing of the Hawkins-Gignac Act into law, making carbon monoxide alarms mandatory in all Ontario homes with fuel-burning appliances or heating systems, fireplaces, or attached garages. (Credit: CNW Group) (CNW Group/The Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131127_C5496_PHOTO_EN_33941.jpg

Image with caption: "With the passing of the Hawkins-Gignac Act, CO alarms, like this one, are now mandatory in all Ontario homes with fuel-burning appliances or heating systems, fireplaces, or attached garages. (Credit: CNW Group) (CNW Group/The Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131127_C5496_PHOTO_EN_33942.jpg

SOURCE: The Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education

For further information:

For interview requests please contact:

Cara Epp
647-217-2835 / cara@edana.ca

Nichola Petts
416-200-6782 / nichola@edana.ca

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