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Think With Your Heart


Does your club have an AED? BY GARY PITTS M


anitoba recently became the first province to en- act AED (auto-


mated external defibrilla- tor) legislation with its 2011 Defibrillator Public Access Act. This groundbreaking


legislation fixed January 31, 2014 as the deadline for Manitoba fitness clubs and other designated facili- ties to install AEDs in their facilities. According to the Heart


and Stroke Foundation, for every minute delay in de- fibrillation, the survival rate of a cardiac arrest vic- tim decreases by about 10 percent. More than 12 minutes of ventricular fi- brillation means that the survival rate is less than 5 percent. Sudden cardiac arrest


is a significant killer. In Canada, there are about 40,000 cardiac arrests every year – that’s one every 12 minutes.


Canadian legislation and liability Each province and territory in


Canada, except New Brunswick and Nunavut, has enacted Good Samaritan laws. An Ontario AED bill (Bill 41,


Defibrillator Access Act, 2010) has ap- parently passed second reading but is presently in legislative limbo. Quebec is one of the few jurisdic-


tions in the world which imposes a legal duty on everyone to help peo- ple in peril. Its Charter of Rights and


20 Fitness Business Canada March/April 2014


AEDs are small, portable devices used to identif cardiac rhythms and deliver a shock to correct abnormal electrical activity in the heart. They can be operated safely and effectively by a 10-year-old child.


Freedoms provides that, “every human being whose life is in peril has a right to assistance.” (Could a cardiac arrest victim suc-


cessfully sue a Quebec fitness club op- erator for failure to install and/or use an AED? That’s an interesting legal question.)


Generally speaking, Good


Samaritan legislation protects employ- ers, rescuers and volunteers from li- ability for damages that result from that person’s ordinary negligence. An injured victim would need to prove gross negligence to succeed in an AED lawsuit.


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