Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education Takes Pulse on How Homeowners Are Responding to Ontario’s CO Alarm Law

Posted on 28.12.2016 in the General category

For Immediate Release

Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education Takes Pulse
on How Homeowners Are Responding to Ontario’s CO Alarm Law

New Poll Provides Insights Ahead of Ontario CO Awareness Week

October, 28, 2016, Brantford, ON –  A new Ipsos poll has found that a majority of Ontarians have responded positively to Ontario’s new CO alarm law which became enforceable in April, 2015.  Fifty-six per cent of homeowners acknowledged that, as a direct result of the law, they either researched the issue of carbon monoxide danger, purchased carbon monoxide alarms, paid more attention to possible risks or recommended others to assess their own safety.

The poll found two-in-ten (18 per cent) Ontarians are unaware of the carbon monoxide alarm law while 26 per cent have taken no action, despite being aware of the law.  The law mandates the installation of carbon monoxide alarms outside sleeping areas in all homes that have any type of fuel-burning appliance or an attached garage.

CO Awareness Week runs from November 1st to 7th.

“The poll findings show the message is starting to get out, but there’s still a lot more work to be done. Our goal is to see every family in the province, living in a home that’s at risk of CO, protected.  Eventually we’d like to see similar laws for all homes across Canada,” says John Gignac, Executive Director, Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education.

“Educating homeowners that CO alarms need to be replaced is a major area of focus for us,” emphasized Gignac. “The knowledge gap around replacement was one of the major findings in the poll we conducted last year. It showed close to 80 per cent of all Ontario residents are misinformed about CO alarm replacement.  The misperceptions are especially true for hardwired alarms.”

Filling the replacement void is something Ontario’s CO Alarm law addresses specifically. The law mandates that CO alarms must be replaced within the timeframe indicated in the manufacturer’s instructions or on the label on the unit.   In today’s terms, that means any existing CO alarm made before 2009 must be replaced whether it is plug-in, battery-powered or hardwired. The general rule on CO alarm replacement is to install new units every 7 to 10 years.

According to Sean Simpson, a spokesperson and analyst with Ipsos, what’s most encouraging about the latest poll is that a majority of Ontarians say, as a direct result of the new law, they are beginning to take action.  Four in ten (44 per cent) say they’ve bought a carbon monoxide alarm for their home, while only three-in-ten (34 per cent) who are aware of the law say they haven’t.  Simpson says this could either be due to negligence, the fact that they already had a carbon monoxide alarm installed, or that their home isn’t mandated to have one.

Two-in-five (40 per cent) say the law has prompted them to pay more attention to identifying potential sources of carbon monoxide in or around their home, driven mainly by Ontarians with children (49 per cent). Ontarians with kids (52 per cent) are also significantly more likely than those without (41 per cent) to have bought a carbon monoxide alarm because of the new law.

Many Ontarians are seeking more information about carbon monoxide, with nearly one-in-three (28 per cent) saying the introduction of the new law has made them search for more information about the sources, symptoms and dangers of carbon monoxide.

The Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education continues to focus on public education, having just completed its latest project, a public service announcement featuring the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

“Eight years ago, when my niece and her family were killed by CO poisoning, they did not have a CO alarm.  Neither did most Ontarians,” Gignac says.  “It is rewarding to see positive changes coming from such a negative situation.”


These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between October 17 and October 21, 2016, on behalf of the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education. For this survey, a sample of 802 Ontarians from Ipsos’ online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval.  In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/ – 3.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For More Information and Interviews:

Conrad Galambos, 905-979-7039, [email protected]

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