February 21, 2013 -- The Government of Canada is working with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC) to put in place Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and related training in community hockey arenas across the country in order to help save lives.
“Our Government is committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians while encouraging active and healthy lifestyles,” said the Prime Minister. “We are proud to work with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and its partners to provide defibrillators and trained personnel to use them at community arenas across the country.”
This initiative will expand the availability of defibrillators for many Canadians, as recreational arenas are a focal point for many communities throughout the country, particularly in rural regions.
Government of Canada support for this four-year initiative – which is being provided through the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Automated External Defibrillators program – will allow the HSFC to coordinate the installation of, and training for, defibrillators. This initiative delivers on a commitment made by the Prime Minister in April 2011.
Phase one of the initiative, currently underway, will assess the needs of 3,000 community hockey arenas in Canada and will result in an implementation plan. Phase two, beginning in spring 2013, includes providing the necessary training to attendants and will see the rollout and installation of the defibrillators, according to the plan.
According to the HSFC, up to 40,000 Canadians experience a sudden cardiac arrest each year and, on average, only about 5% of them survive. Access to early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation could potentially save the lives of thousands of Canadian children and adults each year.
Background -- Automated External Defibrillator (AED) project
The Government of Canada is committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians while encouraging active and healthy lifestyles.
Delivering on an April 2011 commitment, Prime Minister Harper announced support of $10 million for a four-year initiative (2012-2016) between the Government of Canada and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC) to put in place Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and related training in hockey arenas across the country in order to help save lives.
[Defibrillators are electronic devices used to restart a person’s heart that has stopped beating. They are safe, easy to use, and can be operated effectively by the public.]
According to the HSFC, up to 40,000 Canadians experience a sudden cardiac arrest each year. Early access to cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation – preferably within the first one to three minutes after cardiac arrest – may increase the likelihood of survival by 75% or more, potentially saving the lives of thousands of Canadians each year.
Risk of cardiac arrest is increased during intense physical activity, like playing hockey, and especially in people with underlying cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure.
Through the Public Health Agency of Canada’s AED program, the Government of Canada will support the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC) who will work with its partners to ensure that community hockey arenas across Canada are provided with defibrillators and appropriate attendant training.
This initiative has two phases, the first of which is currently underway. In Phase 1, the Government of Canada is providing $300,000 to the HSFC to assess the 3,000 community hockey arenas in Canada and to develop an implementation plan that addresses areas of greatest need or greatest impact on community health. Phase 2, expected to begin in spring 2013, will provide $9.7 million to the HSFC for the actual rollout and installation of defibrillators in community hockey rinks across the country.
This initiative dovetails existing efforts being undertaken across Canada at all levels to expand the network for defibrillators in high traffic public locations. It also builds on the following activities by the Federal Government to combat heart disease:
- Conducting national cardiovascular disease surveillance and supporting the development of enhanced reporting systems so that accurate information on heart disease is used in policy and program development. Investments in healthy living, diabetes prevention and tobacco cessation also support efforts by Canadians to prevent cardiovascular disease.
- The Public Health Agency of Canada invests $5.2 million per year in the Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Program, which tracks rates of CVD and its risk factors in Canada.
- Research investments by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research support the development of new knowledge in preventing, detecting and treating cardiovascular disease.