MPP Martin introduces the Defibrillator Registration and Public Access ActPublished on November 21, 2019
TORONTO – Robin Martin, Member of Provincial Parliament for Eglinton-Lawrence, was joined this morning at Queen’s Park by Dr. Katherine Allan, Chair of Cardiac Arrest Response and Education (CARE), and by Will Jones, a cardiac arrest survivor, to highlight Bill 141, the Defibrillator Registration and Public Access Act.
The bill, if passed, will create a registry of publicly accessible defibrillators and establish requirements relating to the installation, maintenance, testing and availability of defibrillators in designated locations. MPP Martin introduced the bill on Monday and will move second reading of the legislation this afternoon in the Ontario Legislature.
“I have heard clearly from frontline doctors, paramedics, researchers and patient advocates that the creation of a defibrillator registry, combined with public accessibility requirements, will help save lives across Ontario,” said MPP Martin. “We know there are more than 7,000 sudden cardiac arrests in the province each year, and the only effective life-saving treatment is an electrical shock from a defibrillator, delivered as quickly as possible.”
Statistics provided by CARE show that the current survival rate for sudden cardiac arrest is approximately 10 percent. A bystander using an automatic external defibrillator (AED), if it is applied within a few minutes, can increase the victim’s chance of survival to more than 50 percent.
“By the time a 911 call is made, and paramedics are able to reach the patient, it is often too late,” said Dr. Katherine Allan. “Unfortunately, AEDs are seldom used, often because bystanders do not know where they are, cannot find them, or they are not easily accessible. Having a complete registry of all AEDs in Ontario would be a large step to improving how often people use them and ultimately saving more lives.”
Bill 141, if passed, will ensure that the locations of publicly accessible defibrillators are made available to 911 dispatchers, allowing them to direct callers to a nearby AED. The legislation also requires that they have appropriate signage, be accessible for easy identification, and be properly maintained by the owner of the defibrillator.
"In 2004, I suffered an unexplained cardiac arrest at age 17. I survived because within a minute, teachers applied CPR and nearby firefighters arrived with an AED,” said Will Jones. “Implementing legislation that improves community access to functional AEDs will save more lives from the uncompromising effects of sudden cardiac death."
At present, defibrillator installation and registration in Ontario is voluntary. In the Greater Toronto Area alone, approximately 1500 are currently registered with the province or local paramedic services, which is believed to be less than 10 per cent of the total number sold over the past twenty years.
“I want to thank CARE for their ongoing advocacy on this important issue, and for first bringing this issue to my attention,” added MPP Martin. “I also want to recognize the encouraging words of support I have received from other stakeholders, including Heart and Stroke. I look forward to debating this important bill later today.”
“We are thrilled about the motion to introduce a bill regarding an Ontario Registry for Automated External Defibrillators. As you are aware, our group CARE strongly endorses the creation of such a Registry. It is an essential part of increasing the survival of sudden cardiac arrest victims.” - Dr. Katherine Allan, PhD Chair, Cardiac Arrest Response and Education (CARE) on behalf of CARE Members
“Heart & Stroke strongly supports the creation of an AED registry integrated with 9-1-1 in Ontario. A survey we commissioned in September showed that more than 90 percent of Ontarians do as well. We are very excited about this legislation and to work with the Government of Ontario to support this critically important initiative once it is passed.” - Avril Goffredo, Executive Vice President, Ontario and Nunavut, Heart & Stroke
“As a cardiologist, I have worked for many years to ensure AEDs are as publicly accessible as possible because the chances of survival double when an AED and CPR are used within the first few minutes after a cardiac arrest. Registering and maintaining AEDs in this province will save lives. This legislation is a significant step forward and I encourage all MPPs to support it.” - Anthony Graham CM, MD, Honorary member, Advisory Board, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, and Medical Director, Robert McRae Heart Health Unit, St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto