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Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I replace my fire alarms?

Alarms should be replaced at regular intervals, and should, of course, be replaced should your current ones become defective or broken. The Canada Safety Council recommends erring on the side of caution and replacing your alarm once every five years.

When purchasing an alarm, consider the types of alarms. Ionization alarms are quicker to detect fast-spreading fires that produce more heat than smoke, while photoelectric alarms react more quickly to smoldering fires that may smoke for hours before bursting into flame. Consider one of each type per floor of your home.

What is the curfew for children under 16?

Under the Child and Family Services Act there are provisions for Police to apprehend a child under sixteen from midnight to 6am.

Under section 5, no parent of a child less than sixteen years of age shall permit the child to:

  • Loiter in a public place between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m.; or
  • Be in a place of public entertainment between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m., unless the parent accompanies the child or authorizes a specified individual eighteen years of age or older to accompany the child.

Police may take a child home or to place of safety:

  • A peace officer may apprehend the child without a warrant… and take them home or to a place of safety.

If a child appears to be under sixteen and/or the police believe the child is under the age of sixteen police may still apprehend.

Do I always have to wear my seatbelt?

Yes, every person who is a driver or passenger in a motor vehicle MUST occupy a seat with a working seatbelt and wear that seatbelt properly with lap belt and shoulder assembly if available.

What does this mean?

  • No person may ride in the box of a truck
  • You may only have as many passengers as there are working seatbelts
  • No person may ride in the trunk, on the floor or on someone else’s lap
  • You may NOT share a seatbelt with another person

Infants 0-20lbs

  • Must be in a rear facing car seat
  • Must not be in the front seat of a vehicle if the front air bag is activated

Toddlers 20-40lbs

  • Must be in a forward facing car seat

Child 40-80lbs

  • Must be in a booster seat in a position with the lap and shoulder belt assembly.

16 Years and Older

  • For persons under 16 years of age, the driver is responsible to ensure that they are wearing their seatbelt.

How many smoke alarms should I have in my home?

You need a smoke alarm on every level of your home. It’s preferable to keep them near the kitchen and sleeping areas, as well as high fire hazard areas (e.g., near the fireplace.) A smoke alarm near the kitchen may be triggered occasionally when you’re cooking at high heats, but don’t disable your alarm – that’s just an indicator that it’s in working condition. Waft the air around the alarm until the alarm stops, or look into purchasing one that has temporary decreased sensitivity settings.

How often should I test my smoke alarm?

Batteries in smoke alarms must be replaced twice a year. The Canada Safety Council suggests that you replace that batteries in your smoke alarms after changing the clocks for Daylight savings time.

As a tool used only in case of emergency, it’s easy to accidentally forget to perform regular maintenance on your smoke alarm. At the same time, unless you’re doing regular tests, the first time you find out it’s not working might also be your last. Smoke and fire are unforgiving, which makes it vitally important to ensure your smoke alarm is in working condition.

The test button on most smoke alarms is effective to ensure the function of the sound and that it’s receiving power. But what about its ability to sense and detect smoke? This is why it’s important to regularly test your smoke alarm using real smoke. The Canada Safety Council recommends testing once a month using the test button and once a year by lighting a match and holding it a few inches below the smoke alarm. Take care not to hold it too close or you risk damaging your alarm.

If you hear the alarm, you know your alarm is functioning properly. If you don’t hear the sound ring out, replace the batteries and try again. If your alarm is connected electrically to household circuits, double-check to ensure the fuse is working correctly and try again. If neither of these steps help, replace the unit.

How can I protect my vehicle and its content?

Here are some helpful tips to protect your vehicle and its contents.

  1. Ensure your doors are always locked and the key is in your pocket
  2. Always park in well-lit areas
  3. Never leave money in plain sight
  4. Always roll up your car windows
  5. Put shopping bags and other parcels in the trunk and out of view
  6. Ensure GPS is put in a safe, out of sight location
  7. Keep your vehicle registration certificate and proof of insurance on you
  8. Take electronics including your cell phone, with you
  9. Don’t leave your car running while unattended
  10. If parking in the same parking lot often, be sure to park in different spots each day

What is a Surety?

A Surety is someone who agrees to supervise an accused person while they’re released into the community on bail waiting for their criminal matter to be resolved in court. Usually, this is a friend or relative.

It is against the law to accept payment for being a surety.

Before you will be allowed to act as a surety, you must:
  • Be over the age of 18,
  • Be a Canadian citizen or a landed immigrant, and
  • Not be involved in the offence the person has been charged withIn most cases, you should not act as a surety for more than one person at a time. Ideally, you should not have a criminal record.
As a surety, you have 3 responsibilities:
  • Make sure the accused person goes to court when required.
  • Make sure the accused person follows the bail conditions.
  • Call the police if the person doesn’t follow any of the bail conditions

What is Bail?

Bail, also known as a “recognizance of bail”, is a court order that lets you remain in the community while your case is in the court system. If you are denied bail you will be kept in custody while your case is ongoing.

A bail hearing is not a trial. The judge or justice of the peace doesn’t decide whether you’re guilty or innocent. Instead, they consider the risk of letting you go back into the community while your case is ongoing.

A bail hearing is also known as a “show cause hearing”. That is because usually the Crown must “show cause” why you shouldn’t be released from custody on the least strict type of release: an Undertaking without Conditions.

An Undertaking without Conditions lets you be released from custody as long as you promise to go to court when required. If the Crown wants you to follow more conditions if you are released, they must explain why.

Can I drive my ATV on the road?

Yes, however, if you are going to drive your ATV/ORV ON THE ROAD, including side of road and ditches, even just crossing the road, you need to know the following:


  • Possess a valid G2 or M2 driver’s licence or higher (No one under the age of 16 may drive an ATV/ORV on the road)
  • Have a permit for the vehicle (You must carry the permit or a true copy on your person)
  • Have a licence plate on the vehicle (Registered to the ATV/ORV and correctly recorded on the permit)
  • Have valid insurance on the ATV/ORV
  • Wear a helmet that complies with regulations with the chin strap securely fastened under the chin
  • All equipment must be in working order, including all lights, brakes, ignition, etc.
  • Seatbelts must be worn for ORV/UTVs

Speed Limit

  • Where the speed limit is 50km/hr, a person driving an ATV may only travel at a speed of 20km/hr
  • Where the speed limit is 80km/hr or above, a person driving an ATV may only travel at a speed of 50km/hr

What else should you know

  • No passengers under the age of 8 can ride on the roadway
  • ATV/ORV can travel on any backroad in Ontario as well as the shoulder of residential roads or highways.
  • ATV/ORV’s must abide by all traffic laws while on the roadway or highway
  • A police officer may stop any person driving an off-road vehicle and they must stop
  • The driver of the off-road vehicle must identify themselves to police upon request
  • ATV/ORV must be driven in the same direction as traffic
  • Must have working headlights and taillights to drive at night.If you are going to drive your ATV/ORV OFF THE ROAD, including the side of road and ditches, even just crossing the road, you need to know the following:


  • Your ATV must be registered and display a rear licence plate
  • It must be insured under a motor vehicle liability policy
  • Driver must be at least 12 years old unless directly supervised by an adult or while driving on land occupied by the owner of the ATV/ORV
  • Carry the ATV/ORV’s registration permit or a true copy
  • Must wear an approved motorcycle helmet, securely fastened under the chin with a chin strap.
  • To cross the Highway/Roadway, the driver is at least 16 years old and has a minimum valid driver’s G2 or M2 licence

What are the laws pertaining to Firearm Safety?

Most people use what is considered a non-restricted firearm, which is mainly used in hunting activities. Under the Firearms Act, everyone who possesses or acquires a firearm must have a firearms licence.

Under the Firearms Licences Regulations there are special adaptations for Aboriginal people who meet all three of the following criteria:

  1. They must be a member of one of the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada (Indian, Inuit and Metis) or a beneficiary under a treaty referred to in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982
  2. They must be a member of an Aboriginal Community
  3. They must engage in the traditional hunting practices of their community.


Non-Restricted Firearms must be UNLOADED AND either:

  • Made inoperable with a secure locking device (such as trigger lock or cable lock); or
  • Have bolts or bolt-carriers removed; or
  • Securely locked in a sturdy container, cabinet or room that cannot be easily broken into;

  • If in areas where it is legal to fire a gun, non-restricted firearms needed for predator control can temporarily be left unlocked and operable, but they must be kept unloaded and all ammunition must be stored separately
  • If in wilderness areas, non-restricted firearms can be left unlocked and/or operable but must be left unloaded (ammunition may be kept nearby)


  • Must be unloaded (with the exception of muzzle-loading rifles, which can be transported loaded between hunting sites so long as the firing cap or flint is removed).
  • If you are pulled over for any reason and have a firearm on board, you should tell the police that you have a firearm and where it is located in the vehicle.
  • Same rules apply for replica firearms.
  • If left unattended in a car, must be locked in the trunk or similar lockable compartment. If the vehicle does not have a trunk or compartment, the firearm must be placed out of sight inside the vehicle and the vehicle must be locked DISPLAY
  • Made inoperable with a secure locking device (such as a trigger lock); or
  • Locked in a sturdy container, cabinet or room that cannot be easily broken into

Can I use communication devices while driving?

No. It is illegal for drivers to talk, text, type, dial or email using hand-held cell phones and other hand-held communications and entertainment devices. It is also illegal to view display screens unrelated to your driving, such as a tablet in the front seats.

Examples of hand-held devices include:

  • iPods & iPads
  • GPS
  • MP3 players or other music players
  • Cell phones & Smart phones
  • Laptops and other Tablets
  • DVD players or other video players

You may use GPS or cell phone if it is Hands-FREE so long as it does not distract you from driving. A hands-free device is one that you do not touch, hold or manipulate while driving, other than to activate or deactivate it.

If you break this law, you could receive:

  • A fine of $225, plus a victim surcharge and court fee, for a total of $280 if settled out of court
  • A fine of up to $500 if you receive a summons or fight your ticket

Careless Driving

If you endanger others because of any distraction, including both hand-held and hands-free devices, you can also be charged with careless driving. If convicted, you will automatically receive:

  • Six demerit points
  • Fines up to $2,000 and/or
  • A jail term of six months
  • Up to two-year licence suspension

You can even be charged with dangerous driving (a criminal offence), with jail terms of up to five years.


You can still use hand-held devices while driving in a few cases:

  • In a vehicle pulled off the roadway or lawfully parked
  • To make a 911 call
  • Transmitting or receiving voice communication on a two-way, CB or mobile radio (hand-mikes and portable radios like walkie-talkies require a lapel button or other hands-free accessory)

Police, emergency medical services personnel, firefighters and enforcement officers can also use hand-held devices and viewing display screens when performing their duties.