Ontario Defib Law Takes Shape
Take Action to restart Hearts across Ontario
May 6, 2010 marked an exciting day in the Ontario Legislature as MPP Ted McMeekin introduced Second Reading of Bill 41, the Defibrillator Access Act, 2010 which was passed unanimously. This legislation, if enacted, would be the first of its kind in Canada.
On April 21, 2010 Ted McMeekin, Member of Provincial Parliament for the riding of Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough and Westdale introduced Private Member’s Bill 41 entitled, Defibrillator Access Act. This legislation would mandate Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to be installed in all public spaces which could include schools, fitness facilities and hockey arenas. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario has been advocating for this proposed law since 2006 and the Bill is expected to be referred to a Standing Committee for further debate and public consideration.
The legislation is a natural progression from the Chase McEachern Act (Heart Defibrillator Civil Liability), 2007, which exempts a lay user from civil liability for attempting to aid another individual. The Heart and Stroke Foundation was a strong supporter and advocate for the successful passage of this Bill named after the late Chase McEachern, an 11 year old boy who advocated for AEDs in public places, before he passed away in 2006 after suffering a cardiac arrest in his school.
Brandon Koskitalo, a 14-year-old sudden cardiac arrest survivor, has helped to carry on the advocacy work that Chase began. On March 9, 2010, Brandon, who was brought back to life by an AED placed at his school, travelled all the way to Queen’s Park to share his story and ask MPPs to make a law to place AEDs in all schools across Ontario, as well as other public places. “I am excited to hear that our MPPs are listening, and have plans to pass a law to require AEDs in all schools across Ontario,” says 14 year old Brandon Koskitalo. “This means the world to me, my family and the legacy of Chase McEachern.”
The Chase McEachern Act supports public access to AEDs and encourages their use by the public to save lives. Although significant headway has been made in Ontario to place AEDs in places where cardiac arrests are most likely to occur, there are still many public places in Ontario that do not have AEDs. This new legislation mandating the placement of AED in public places is critical to protect members of the public in high risk areas that are without access to defibrillators.
In the United States, precedents for this type of legislation already exist. Statutes mandating AEDs is found in 17 States (roughly 1/3 of the U.S). The focus of these statutes is on schools, health clubs and other fitness facilities.
To date, the Foundation, in conjunction with government, corporate and community partners, and individual donations has been able to place over 2800 AED units throughout Ontario. If this legislation is passed thousands more will follow. Help us make AEDs as common place as fire extinguishers by asking your MPP to vote YES to the Defibrillator Access Act when it is presented for Third Reading!
Please let your friends and family know that they can get involved and make a difference to SAVE LIVES by phoning and emailing their MPPs to ask them support the Bill 41, the Defibrillator Access Act, 2010.
Find your MPP by entering your postal code online at:
Sample script to call your local MPP:
“Hello, my name is ________, __________. I’m phoning/emailing today to let you know that I support Bill 41, the Defibrillator Access Act, 2010. As my MPP, I would like you to vote YES to Bill 41 when presented for Third Reading. Thank you.”