Heart disease is a major problem in Canadian communities. That’s why our Conservative government is committed to both helping prevent the disease, and ensuring that when heart attacks occur, the proper life-saving equipment is available.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, 40,000 Canadians are affected by sudden cardiac arrest each year. The risk of experiencing sudden cardiac arrest is increased during intense physical activities such as hockey, and is especially prevalent in people with high blood pressure and other risk factors.
Unfortunately, the survival rate for those 40,000 people is only 5 per cent on average.
That’s why, in 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper pledged to place Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in hockey arenas across the country. Recreational arenas are often a hotbed of physical activity in smaller communities and they’re used for numerous events aside from hockey, making them a likely location for sudden cardiac arrest victims.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation notes that survival rates for those who experience sudden cardiac arrest can be increased by up to 75 per cent if they’re given CPR or treated by a defibrillator within the first three minutes of a heart attack.
Recently, the Prime Minister followed through on this commitment by announcing our Government’s partnership with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. This partnership will help ensure that community hockey arenas across Canada are provided with defibrillators and appropriate attendant training. This initiative has the potential to save the lives of thousands of Canadians.
Through a four-year program, our government will give $10 million to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. The first $300,000 will be used to scout ideal arenas and locations for the defibrillators, with a special emphasis on rural communities. After these locations are found, the remaining money will be used by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and their partners to place defibrillators in arenas nationwide and train associates how to use them.v
This coincides with actions being taken across the nation to increase the number of AEDs in high-traffic public locations. It also coincides with action being taken by our government to combat heart disease: $5.2 million is being spent each year on the Cardiovascular Disease Program, increased research investments, and increased investments in promoting healthy, active lifestyles.