The Foundation, in conjunction with government, corporate sponsors and individual donations, has been able to place over 3,000 AED units throughout Ontario. The Heart&Stroke Restart a Heart, a Life Program™ and Chase McEachern Tribute Fund has already resulted in well over 40 lives saved in Ontario since 2006.
To help reduce concerns over potential legal liability for using one of these devices (that were previously only available to trained medical staff), the Chase McEachern Act (Heart Defibrillator Civil Liability) was passed in 2007. The act exempts a lay user (i.e. someone with no training who utilizes the AED) from civil liability for attempting to aid another individual. The Act reflects the Government of Ontario’s appreciation of the importance of AEDs and was intended to support public access to AEDs and encourage their use by the public in order to save lives.
Bill 41, Defibrillator Access Act, 2010, was introduced by MPP Ted McMeekin on April 21, 2010, passed second reading with unanimous support on May 6, 2010, and later died on the Order Paper when the legislature prorogued on June 1, 2011.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation is committed to working to see that similar legislation is re-introduced in the next session of the legislature. This proposed new legislation would complement the Chase McEachern Act and further the Government of Ontario’s goal of being a national leader in the placement of public access defibrillators.