Recreational hockey arenas across the country will have heart defibrillators, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday.
Harper announced the details of the four-year initiative in Saskatoon.
“We have the technology and we know that it works,” he said.
“We know that with minimal training, defibrillators are easy to use. And we know that by making these devices more readily available, vast treatment will save lives.”
Harper promised the defibrillator plan in the 2011 election campaign.
The $10-million initiative will roll out over four years. The government will assess the needs of 3,000 arenas countrywide. They defibrillators are expected to begin to be implemented in the spring.
“Our government is making a significant investment across Canada to ensure that every recreational hockey rink will be equipped with one of these live-saving devices,” Harper said.
Harper said the death of award-winning photographer Tom Hanson sparked the initiative. In 2009, the 41-year-old collapsed and died while playing hockey with friends in Ottawa.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, up to 40,000 Canadians experience sudden cardiac arrest but only five per cent actually survive.