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Fire Prevention


Keeping Ontarians Safe from Carbon Monoxide
CO Alarms Now Mandatory in All Homes

Ontario is taking another step to keep everyone in Ontario safe by making carbon monoxide alarms mandatory in all residential homes. 

The new regulation, which came into effect October 15th, updates Ontario's Fire Code following the passage of Bill 77 last year. These updates are based on recommendations from a Technical Advisory Committee which was led by the Office of the Fire Marshall and Emergency Management and included experts from fire services, the hotel and rental housing industries, condo owners, and alarm manufacturers.

Carbon monoxide detectors will now be required near all sleeping areas in residential homes and in the service rooms (furnace room), and adjacent sleeping areas in multi-residential units. Carbon monoxide alarms can be hardwired, battery-operated or plugged into the wall. 

What does "adjacent to each sleeping area" mean in terms of installation location?

In general, this phrase means the hallway serving or area outside the sleeping area. For instance, a CO alarm must be installed in the hallway adjacent to multiple bedrooms in a house or apartment.

However, there may be situations where "adjacent to each sleeping area" refers to the area around the bed, within the bedroom or sleeping area itself.

When are CO alarms required to be installed within an apartment building?

If a fuel-burning appliance or a fireplace is installed in the apartment suite, a CO alarm is required to be installed adjacent to each sleeping area within the suite.

If an apartment suite shares a common wall or floor/ceiling assembly with a garage, a CO alarm is required to be installed adjacent to each sleeping area within the suite.

If an apartment suite shares a common wall or floor/ceiling assembly with a service room containing a fuel-burning appliance, a CO alarm is required to be installed adjacent to each sleeping area within the suite.

If the apartment building's service room contains a fuel-burning appliance, a CO alarm is required to be installed in the service room.

If an apartment suite has a fuel burning appliance, do neighbouring suites that share either a common wall or floor/ceiling assembly require a CO alarm?

No. This maintains consistency with OBC requirements.

Does an apartment suite that is located across the corridor from a service room containing a fuel-burning appliance require a CO alarm?

No. This maintains consistency with OBC requirements.

If an apartment suite has no fuel burning appliance, but has concealed spaces that contain ducts servicing fuel fire appliances located outside of the suite, does the suite require a CO alarm?

No. This maintains consistency with OBC requirements.


  • More than 50 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning in Canada, including 11 on average in Ontario.
  • The Ontario Building Code requires the installation of carbon monoxide alarms in homes and other residential buildings built after 2001.

If you require further information or assistance please contact the fire department

Gord Jopling, Fire Chief

Howard Jinkerson, Fire Prevention Officer
Tel: 705-292-7282

Law Guide Button

Ontario's New CO Alarm Law - The Hawkins-Gignac Act Carbon Monoxide (CO) is known as 'The Silent Killer' because you can't see it, taste it or smell it. The only way to detect the presence of the deadly gas is to install a carbon monoxide alarm. On October 15, 2014, the Ontario Government formally enacted a new law - The Hawkins-Gignac Act - making carbon monoxide alarms mandatory in all Ontario homes at risk of CO. This revision to the Ontario Fire Code, supersedes any existing municipal by-laws.

Now, no matter the age of your home, if you have any oil, propane or gas-burning appliances, furnace or water heater, a wood or gas fireplace, or an attached garage or carport, you must have working carbon monoxide alarms installed near sleeping areas. Ontario's new CO alarm law brings a consistent level of protection to all Ontarians.

CO Safety Tips to Protect Your Family

  • It is law in Ontario to install CSA-approved CO alarms outside sleeping areas.
  • CO alarms are required by law to be replaced within the time frame indicated in the manufacturer's instructions and/or on the label on the unit. Some new CO alarms offer sealed lithium batteries that last 10 years from activation.
  • For optimal protection, install additional CO alarms on every floor of the home.
  • Have a licenced technician inspect your fuel burning appliances annually, (eg. furnace, range, fireplace, water heater) to ensure they are in proper working order and vented correctly.
  • For families with older parents or relatives, it is wise to help them inspect their CO alarms.
  • CO alarms don't last forever. They need to be replaced every 7-10 years, depending on the brand.
  • If your alarm goes off get everyone out of the house, stay out and call 911! Exposure to CO reduces your ability to think clearly, so never delay if your alarm goes off and you sense a problem.

Law Guide Button

Other Helpful Links

Are Your Smoke Alarms Working?

The Selwyn Fire Department urges everyone in the community to take a few minutes to make sure their smoke alarms are working. "Too many people are complacent about fire safety," said Fire Prevention Officer Howard Jinkerson "People need to remember there is a one in ten chance of having a fire in their home. With all the plastic and synthetic materials we put in our homes today, fire burns hotter and faster than ever before. You may have just seconds to get everyone out of your home safely."Cartoon Image of man pointing at smoke alarm

Working smoke alarms provide the early warning of fire so that people have those extra seconds needed to escape a fire emergency.

It's the law in Ontario to have working smoke alarms on every storey of the home and outside all sleeping areas. Yet, all too often the fire service in Ontario responds to fires in homes with no working smoke alarms. Combination Smoke/CO alarms are a great investment if it is time to update your older smoke alarms giving your family the protection they need if you have a fuel burning appliance in your home or an attached garage. Place a CO alarm outside all sleeping areas and on every level of your home.

For more information, please contact:
Howard Jinkerson, Fire Prevention Officer, Selwyn Fire Dept. 705 292 7282

Fire Prevention

The Goal of the Fire Prevention Division is to reduce the number of preventable fires in the municipality, this is accomplished through education and enforcement. The Prevention Division conducts inspections on buildings throughout the municipality for compliance with the Ontario Fire Code. Responsibility for compliance with the Fire Code falls on the building owner, and failure to comply may result in prosecution.

Fire Safety Plan Templates

A Fire Safety Plan is required for most buildings. Section 2.8 of the Ontario Fire Code outlines which buildings require Fire Safety Plans and what needs to be included on them. For more information on Fire Prevention and Fire Education please contact Fire Prevention Officer at 705-292-7282.

Fire Prevention Canada (FIPRECAN)

The national voice of fire prevention and education in Canada. Please take a few minutes to peruse their site for valuable information that may save your life, and the lives of your loved ones. Statistics show that, on average, fire kills eight people each week in Canada, with residential fires accounting for 73% of these fatalities.

Notice to Cottagers

Did you know that you may have less than One Minute to escape a burning cottage or home?  This is why it is so critical that everyone prepares and practices a cottage or home escape plan, as well as being aware of the requirements for maintaining and replacing their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

Follow these 5 steps to protect your family and guests from fire and carbon monoxide danger: 

  • On Day One of cottage season, prepare and practice a fire escape plan ensuring, wherever possible, that you have two ways out of every room of your cottage.
  • Check the age of all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.  Immediately replace smoke alarms over 10 years old and CO alarms over 7 years depending on the manufacturer.  This is required whether alarms are plug-in, hardwired or battery powered.
  • Install fresh batteries in all alarms, especially those in cottages that were closed down for the winter as cold drains battery power.
  • The same Ontario law applies in cottages as in permanent homes - working smoke alarms are required on every storey of your cottage and outside all sleeping areas.
  • Cottages with fireplaces or fuel-burning appliances of any kind (eg. propane or gas stove, furnace, water heater etc.) should have a carbon monoxide alarm - this is law in many cottage municipalities.