Issue: Carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide is a leading cause of unintentional poisoning deaths in Canada and North America.  

There are more than 300 deaths and 200 hospitalizations related wholly or partially to carbon monoxide poisoning each year in Canada.

Problem: Detection of carbon monoxide

The nature of carbon monoxide poisoning requires proactive safety measures – waiting until after the poisoning has occurred is too late. Without a carbon monoxide alarm, families are unable to detect the presence of this poisonous gas as it is colourless, odourless and tasteless. Symptoms of exposure are also often mistaken for the flu, and either ignored or misdiagnosed.

Solution: Legislating mandatory carbon monoxide alarms

Six jurisdictions in Canada now have regional legislation that requires residences to have carbon monoxide alarms: Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Yukon. The provinces of British Colombia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador require carbon monoxide alarms through adoption of the National Building Codes.

Investment in poison prevention strategies is cost-effective:

  • $1 spent on poison prevention saves $8 in benefits to society.
  • Many carbon monoxide alarms cost less than $40. This amounts to about two cents per day over the course of a carbon monoxide alarm lifespan.

Carbon monoxide poisoning within the home can be prevented with a few key safety measures.