Saskatoon needs to review carbon monoxide regulations: Clark

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WATCH: Mayor Charlie Clark says Saskatoon needs stronger safety regulations after a carbon monoxide leak sent dozens to hospital last week – Jan 20, 2021

Mayor Charlie Clark said the City of Saskatoon must examine how it can keep people safe from carbon monoxide.

“We need to take a step back and make sure we do a review of the current situation, and the rules, and to look at where we can play a role,” he said.

The mayor said he planned to bring the matter before city council on Monday.

Read more: Saskatoon Fire Department considering steps to address carbon monoxide detector standards

Clark said the leak on Batemen Crescent last week would have been a national tragedy if not for Dr. Mark Wahba, the doctor at Royal University Hospital who noticed the symptoms caused by the odorless, colourless but very deadly gas in two patients.

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Wahba alerted the Saskatoon Fire Department (SFD), who inspected the house. First responders then evacuated 100 people from nearby buildings and took 29 of them to hospital.

The incident exposed the fact that the most recent version of the National Building Code (NBC) only requires carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in buildings built after 2009.

In an emailed statement, a provincial spokesperson told Global News that municipalities “have the authority to add additional requirements over and above what the NBC requires through their building bylaws to new and existing buildings in their jurisdiction.”

Kathy Goldfinch also said Saskatchewan has required all new buildings with sleeping accommodations to have detectors since 2009.

The mayor, speaking over Zoom, said he was surprised to learn buildings older than that aren’t required to have detectors.

Read more: Saskatoon doctor recognized for response to carbon monoxide poisoning

“I’m very much supportive of us looking into this, understanding what role the city can play in terms of insuring we have carbon monoxide detection in place,” he said, noting the issue affects thousands of structures in the city.

He said the goal is to ensure as many of these buildings as possible have detectors, though he said he wasn’t sure what the best means of enforcement would be.

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He said the solution would involve all three levels of government and noted the Saskatoon Fire Department is already exploring the issue. And since the issue involves different governing bodies he didn’t want to commit to a timetable for any new measures from the city.

Read more: 43 people at Saskatoon apartment building treated for carbon monoxide poisoning

Regardless of what any legislation requires, he’s urging residents to get CO detectors.

Goldfinch said the Government of Saskatchewan expects the National Research Council to release the updated NBC late this year and that the province would adopt any new guidelines after consulting with stakeholders.

— With files from Kyle Benning, Many Vocke and David Giles

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