Bill 20, Hawkins-Gignac Act (Carbon Monoxide Detectors), 2011 requires owners of certain residential buildings to install and maintain carbon monoxide detectors.

AMO has a number of concerns regarding Bill 20, Hawkins-Gignac Act (Carbon Monoxide Detectors), 2011 a private member’s bill introduced by MPP Ernie Hardeman for first reading on December 6, 2011. The bill amends the Building Code Act, 1992 to require owners of residential buildings with fuel burning devices or storage garages to install and maintain carbon monoxide detectors.

The bill’s status is currently under consideration by the Standing Committee on Social Policy and has since heard several speakers address the draft bill. The bill will be reviewed by the Standing Committee within the next few weeks before it returns to the Legislature for a third reading.

AMO has concerns with the absence of public notice for the committee hearings. This lack of notice did not give AMO an opportunity to speak before the Standing Committee when it met on Monday, April 2, 2012.

AMO, Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) and Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO) have each communicated their concerns about Bill 20 in letters to the Chair of the Standing Committee on Social Policy. Municipalities, and their Building Officials, are responsible for the operationalization and management of any amendments to the Building Code Act. As such, the amendments outlined in Bill 20 may have potential significant financial impacts for municipalities during implementation, their ability to recover costs, enforcement, public education and administration should the draft bill pass third reading and be made into law. Municipalities may also face increased exposure to liability and risk issues if Bill 20 becomes provincial legislation.

Furthermore, the current regulatory mandate of the Building Code Act is designed on a go-forward basis in terms of new construction. Bill 20 requires that residential buildings built prior to 2001 require carbon monoxide detectors be installed where there are fuel burning devices or storage garages in those buildings. Currently, there are no retroactivity standards included in the Building Code Act. By initiating the enforcement of maintenance and rehabilitation standards of older buildings, this change would require significant in-depth review and determination of the resource requirements of municipal building departments.

Although the municipal sector understands the intent of Bill 20 is to improve public safety, AMO respectfully suggests that the Standing Committee should consider the full understanding of the draft legislation’s operational implications before decisions are made.

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