City of Regina considering ways to mandate carbon monoxide alarms: Masters

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WATCH: Regina's mayor is consulting with Saskatoon’s mayor and the federal government over regulating carbon monoxide detectors in the wake of a carbon monoxide leak at a Saskatoon apartment building that sent 43 people to hospital – Jan 31, 2021

Regina Mayor Sandra Masters says the city is actively considering ways to mandate carbon monoxide detectors in homes after a leak in Saskatoon sent 43 people to hospital.

“That is being looked at as we speak,” Masters told Global Regina earlier this week.

“At the city level we have bylaw enforcement. And we’re collaborating with the government and other municipalities.”

Read more: Saskatoon needs to review carbon monoxide regulations: Clark

Saskatchewan has adopted national building and fire codes to establish minimum safety requirements for buildings.

The National Building Code of Canada, though, only mandates that buildings built after 2009 are required to have carbon monoxide detectors.

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There are precedents for requiring retrofitting though.

In 2013, the government of Ontario amended the province’s Fire Code to require carbon monoxide alarms in almost all residences. Failure to comply with the law can result in fines,

Randy Ryba, meanwhile, says that in his perfect world there would be an alarm on every floor of every house.

He says that the fire department responds to around 150 calls per year on average.

“It’s invisible, odourless and tasteless. It’s very dangerous,” Ryba said. “It’s about the same buoyancy as air, so it circulates about your home.”

Read more: 1 dead, 4 injured after ‘very high level’ of carbon monoxide detected in Toronto home

But with an average cost of around $30 for a basic plug-in detector, retrofitting could come with a significant price.

The Saskatchewan Landlords Association represents around 50,000 rental properties

Its CEO says that while the majority of its members support mandating CO detectors, and would bear the responsibility of installation, some kind of rebate or subsidy as well as at least twelve months notice would help ease the transition.

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“It’s important that property owners protect their tenants and their families,” said Cameron Choquette. “We’d appreciate the opportunity to be consulted. So that landlords and tenants alike can understand where the legislation is going.”

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