Your Government Announces Support for Defibrillators in Community Hockey Arenas (Feb. 21, 2013)

February 21, 2013

O T T A W A – Your Government is committed to protecting the health and safety of all Canadians while encouraging active and healthy lifestyles.

This is why your Government recently announced that we are working with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada to put in place Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and related training in community 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 Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, up to 40,000 Canadians experience a sudden cardiac arrest each year and, on average, only about 5% of them survive.

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.

Access to early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation could potentially save the lives of thousands of Canadian children and adults each year.

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 such as Yellowhead.

This announcement delivers on a an April 2011 $10 million commitment to support a four-year initiative (2012-2016) between the Government of Canada and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC) to put in place AEDs and related training in hockey arenas across the country.

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 also builds on other activities taken by your 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 investing $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.

Your Government and I are proud to work with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and its partners to provide defibrillators and trained personnel for community arenas across Yellowhead and all of Canada.

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For more information please contact: 1-800-268-7117