Time is running out. By October 15, carbon monoxide alarms will be required near all sleeping areas in Ontario’s residential homes with a fuel-burning appliance or fireplace or which are adjacent to a service room with such appliances or adjacent to a garage. Condominium corporations (as opposed to unit owners) are likely ultimately responsible for the installation, testing and maintenance of these alarms. Are you ready?
In October of last year, Ontario amended its Fire Protection and Prevention regime by implementing these new requirements with respect to the installation and testing of carbon monoxide alarms in residential homes. These new requirements were phased-in. Multiple-residential dwellings with 6 units or less had until last April to comply. The next and final deadline of October 15 applies to all multiple-residential dwelling of more than 6 units.
As indicated above, this legal requirement to install, maintain and test these monoxide alarms does not only apply to units with a fuel-burning appliance or a fireplace but also to all units adjacent to a service room with such appliances or adjacent to a garage. By “adjacent”, the new regulation is meant to apply to any residential unit that has a common wall, floor or ceiling with the garage or the service room.
CO2 detector must be installed by the sleeping area in the unit above, below or beside the garage or service room with fuel-burning appliances or fireplace.
We are often asked whether the responsibility to comply with these requirements fall on the unit owner or on the condominium corporation. The answer is found in Ontario Regulation 213/07 adopted under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act. It confirms that these obligations fall on the “owner”. But watch out! The “owner” is defined as “any person, firm or corporation having control over any portion of the building or property under consideration”. In our view, considering that the corporation has control over the common elements, as soon as any portion of the building in question comprises common elements, the corporation may be considered an “owner” under this regulation. As an aside, keep in mind that, for rental dwelling units, the landlord is considered the owner.
Contraventions of a regulation under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act attract steep fines. They may apply to both the corporation and to the director who knows the corporation is violating one of these provisions.
The carbon monoxide alarm must be permanently connected to an electrical circuit, be battery-operated or be plugged into an electrical receptacle. It must meet the requirements of the Residential Carbon Monoxide Alarming Devices or that of the Multiple Station Carbon Monoxide Alarms and must be mechanically fixed, attached, plugged in or placed at the manufacturer’s recommended height on or near the ceiling. It is best to consult with an expert.
You may find more useful information on this at the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs website.