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Carbon Monoxide Alarms and Smoke Alarms

The Uniform Building and Accessibility Standards Act (the UBAS Act) was replaced by The Construction Codes Act (the CC Act) on January 1, 2022.

All forms, documents, orders, bylaws and permits issued under the UBAS Act remain valid under the CC Act unless these items conflict with the CC Act, in which case the provisions of the CC Act take priority.

The Building Code Regulations (the BCR) require carbon monoxide alarms and smoke alarms (or combination carbon monoxide-smoke alarms) be installed in all residential buildings in Saskatchewan, regardless of the date the building was constructed.

Enforcement of this regulation did not begin until July 1, 2022, so residents could have time to research, purchase and install these alarms in their residences.

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

CO is an invisible, odourless, poisonous gas that is most often produced when fuel-burning appliances – like furnaces, boilers, fireplaces, stoves, clothes dryers and water heaters – malfunction. CO is also present in car exhaust.

Concentrations of CO can build up in homes, apartments or other residential buildings without you knowing it. Working CO alarms will alert you to its presence, allowing you time enough to leave the building and call 911. Without CO alarms, continued exposure to CO can lead to confusion, drowsiness, loss of consciousness, brain damage and death.

Carbon monoxide incidents happen more often than you think.

  • Between 2018 and 2020, an average of 1,200 CO incidents were reported annually to SaskEnergy.
  • The Saskatchewan Coroners Service recorded 16 deaths from accidental CO poisoning between 2015 and 2019.


Smoke from residential fires spreads quickly. Since a residential fire can become life-threatening in less than two minutes, working smoke alarms can alert you and your family so you have time to escape and call 911.

The Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) receives reports of all fires that occur in our province. The agency included these numbers in their 2020-21 annual report:

  • Of the fires reported to the SPSA, 440 or 36 per cent of fires impacted residential structures.
  • Between 2016 and 2021, the five-year average of civilian fatalities caused by fires (excluding wildfires) is just over 10 deaths a year.

Alarm Types

There are many different types of alarms available to suit your circumstances and building layout: hard-wired alarms, 10-year battery-operated alarms, and in the case of CO alarms, ones that can be plugged into your electrical socket.

Useful Life of an Alarm

CO alarms, smoke alarms and combination alarms do need to be replaced. Follow the recommended replacement cycle indicated by the manufacturer for your alarm. Alarms nearing the end of their useful life may emit a 'chirp;' or other sound every minute or so, depending on the manufacturer. The manual that came with your alarm will tell you what you can expect to hear.

If you don't remember how old your alarm is, you should replace it.

Location and Installation of Alarms

All alarms should be installed, tested and replaced according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Alarms may need to be installed in additional areas in residential buildings as required by the amended Regulations depending on:

  • Your building's layout;
  • The type of alarm(s) currently installed in the residence; and
  • The location and type of fuel-burning appliance(s) found in the building.

Building and Technical Standards developed three advisories: one for residential homeowners; one for owners of multi-unit residential buildings such as condominiums, apartments, motels and hotels; and one for care home operators. The advisories:

  • Describe where alarms should be located as required by the BCR; and
  • Provide a diagram illustrating locations where alarms are required.

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