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Legislative Changes and Carbon Monoxide Detector Program to Improve Public Safety

WHITEHORSE, YUKON -- (Marketwired) -- 05/02/13 -- With the expected passage of Bill 57, the Oil-Fired Appliance Safety Statutory Amendment Act, Yukon will become the first jurisdiction in Canada to require carbon monoxide detectors in all residences with fuel-burning appliances and/or attached garages.

Community Services Minister Elaine Taylor made the announcement today at a carbon monoxide safety event in Whitehorse, where she spoke to amendments to the Building Standards Act, the Fire Prevention Act and Electrical Protection Act.

The legislative changes require that only qualified oil-burner mechanics may apply for and hold a permit to install or modify an oil-fired appliance; refer to trade qualifications and create a public registry of trade-qualified oil-burner mechanics; and adopt the National Fire Code of Canada. All residences in Yukon will also be required by law to have smoke alarms.

"This new legislation is a landmark for Yukon and for Canada, as we are the first jurisdiction in the country to make these requirements for carbon monoxide detectors in homes," Community Services Minister Elaine Taylor said. "The amendments will go a long way toward protecting the health and safety of all Yukon citizens. I would like to thank everyone who assisted in the creation of these legislative changes, including the Oil-Fired Appliances Working Group, the citizens who took part in our territory-wide meetings, as well as industry and education representatives."

The government is also taking action to provide training in the local oil-fired appliance industry, and raise public awareness of heating system safety. Over the past year, the Yukon Fire Marshal's Office has led a public awareness campaign on carbon monoxide safety and the Yukon Housing Corporation has launched an awareness campaign on the importance of proper installation and maintenance of home heating systems. In conjunction with the campaigns, the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Safety has donated 100 carbon monoxide detectors, available through the Whitehorse Food Bank, community health centres, social services offices and rural volunteer fire departments.

"I congratulate the Yukon government for its leadership in helping to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning," co-executive director of the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education John Gignac said. "The only way to detect the presence of this silent killer is with a carbon monoxide alarm approved by the Canadian Standards Association. I have no doubt that lives will be saved as a result of this legislation and I urge every jurisdiction in Canada to follow Yukon's lead."

The Yukon Fire Marshal's Office will be contributing an additional 200 carbon monoxide alarms and 200 smoke alarms for distribution to people who would otherwise not have access to them.

"Encouraging safety in the home is a priority for the Yukon government," Minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation Scott Kent said. "Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors save lives and I am pleased that through this important new safety requirement, all Yukon homes will benefit from an enhanced level of protection."

For more information visit: www.community.gov.yk.ca/building_safety.html.

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