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Archived - Government of Canada and Heart and Stroke Foundation continue installing AEDs in recreational hockey arenas across Canada

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Over 1,600 already installed through National AED initiative

March 16, 2015 - North Vancouver, BC - Public Health Agency of Canada

On behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, Cathy McLeod, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, Andrew Saxton, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance and Member of Parliament for North Vancouver, and Adrienne Bakker, CEO of British Columbia & Yukon Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF), were on-site at the North Shore Winter Club to highlight 17 recently installed Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) at that facility.

These AEDs were installed as part of the National AED initiative, a partnership between the Public Health Agency of Canada and the HSF to have AEDs in recreational hockey arenas across the country. The North Shore Winter Club has also started holding training sessions to help teach staff and arena users how to use an AED effectively.  

To date, over 1,600 AEDs have been put in place in recreational arenas in Canada through the National initiative, and over 12,000 people have been trained on how to properly use them. The goal is to have 2,000 of these life saving devices installed in recreational hockey arenas across the country by the end of the program in March 2016, and we are already 80% of the way there.

Having an AED accessible for all users in arenas and recreational facilities where moderate to high physical activity takes place can mean the difference between life and death in the event of a cardiac arrest. In fact, three lives have already been saved using AEDs installed as part of this initiative.

Any recreational arena in Canada can apply for an AED through the National AED initiative by visiting the HSF website. Once all arenas are equipped, funding may be available for AEDs to be installed in other high-traffic non-arena based recreational facilities.

Quick Facts

  • The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, announced this 4-year initiative in February 2013.
  • Through this initiative, the Government of Canada is providing support to the HSF to develop a national database that will track AEDs installed in recreational arenas. The database is intended to provide local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) with valuable information regarding the availability of AEDs located in their jurisdictions.
  • Defibrillators are electronic devices used to restart a person’s heart that has stopped beating. They are safe, easy-to-use, and they can be operated effectively by the public.
  • Over 700 new installations are expected across Canada in the coming months.
  • Approximately 130 AEDs have been installed under this initiative in British Columbia alone.  
  • This initiative is funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada and carried out by the Heart and Stroke Foundation. 


“Our Government is committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians while encouraging healthy and active lifestyles. I’m proud of the progress we’re making with our partners in installing AEDs in as many recreational arenas as possible across the country.”

Cathy McLeod
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

“The risk of sudden cardiac arrest can increase during intense physical activity like playing hockey, especially for people who have other risk factors such as high blood pressure or an underlying heart condition. Early access to CPR and defibrillation could potentially save the lives of thousands of Canadian adults and children every year. Through our Government’s National AED initiative and the installation of AEDs in recreational arenas and local communities across the country, all Canadians who use these facilities will benefit.”

Andrew Saxton
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance and MP for North Vancouver

“Across Canada, close to 40,000 cardiac arrests happen every year. Arenas, rinks and other recreational facilities can be hot spots for cardiac arrests. If an AED and CPR are used quickly, the chance of survival doubles. That’s why this initiative is so important; it puts lifesaving AEDs in places where they can save lives.”

Mike Hoffman
Manager, National AED Programs for the Heart and Stroke Foundation

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Caption: Mike Hoffman of the Heart and Stroke Foundation shows Parliamentary Secretary Cathy McLeod and MP Andrew Saxton how to use an Automated External Defibrillator.

Caption: Colton Boechler, age 14, speaks about how an AED saved his life when he was just 11 years old.


Michael Bolkenius
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
Federal Minister of Health
(613) 957-0200

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada
(613) 957-2983

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