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Results: 1 - 30 of 577
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Good morning, members of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.
I am very proud to appear before you to present Motion M-124, which I had the opportunity and the privilege to introduce and debate in the House of Commons on November 9, 2017. It was put to a vote on January 29, 2018, and adopted unanimously on January 31, 2018. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the members of the House of Commons, both those in the government and in the opposition parties, for supporting this motion.
Today, I am asking you to undertake a study to determine the feasibility of equipping emergency vehicles across Canada with automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and to ensure that the necessary measures be taken following discussions with the other levels of government, the municipalities and organizations concerned, with due regard for their respective jurisdictions.
Every year, there are some 40,000 sudden cardiac arrests. When such events take place, every second counts. For every minute that passes, a cardiac arrest victim's chances of survival decrease by 7 to 10%. In 85% of cases, cardiac arrest occurs outside hospital, usually in private residences, with no AED nearby.
That, unfortunately, was what happened to Michel Picard, a resident of Victoriaville in my constituency. On December 30, 2017, Mr. Picard collapsed at his home, in front of his family, without warning. He had suffered a life-threatening arrhythmia. Happily, emergency services were contacted immediately. During the six minutes it took emergency services to get there, Mr. Picard's son-in-law, Steve Houle, administered first aid in the form of external cardiac massage. This procedure increased the victim's chances of survival until the paramedics arrived with a defibrillator and administered three shocks. Fortunately, Mr. Picard regained consciousness and is today considered a miraculous survivor since he has no lasting effects from the incident. This outcome was made possible by the rapid response of paramedics.
In a cardiac arrest, external cardiac massage helps keep blood and oxygen circulating in the victim's body. However, a person cannot be resuscitated with cardiac massage alone; a defibrillator is essential to stop the arrhythmia and allow the heart to return to its normal state.
AEDs increase the chances of survival by 75%. That is why it is so important to have access to a defibrillator.
What would have happened to Mr. Picard if the first responders had been firefighters or police officers who do not have AEDs in their vehicles?
Regrettably, less than 5% of people who suffer a heart attack outside hospital survive. In an emergency, police officers or firefighters are often first on the scene, because of their proximity, even before paramedics. They are trained to administer first aid until paramedics arrive. If their vehicles were all equipped with AEDs, response time would be much shorter, and more lives would be saved.
In Quebec, some effort is being made in this area. The Sûreté du Québec has implemented a pilot project to put AEDs in all of its vehicles. There are also AEDs in some fire trucks and some public places. In fact, that saved the life of my friend Stéphane Campagna. While playing hockey with some friends in Victoriaville, he suffered a cardiac arrest in the arena. Fortunately, thanks to the contribution of some proactive business people, there was an AED in the arena. Thanks to that device and the cool-headedness of Marcel Duquette, Jean-François Gagné and Francis Garneau, Stéphane was resuscitated. The three men raced over to assist him and saved his life with the defibrillator, which was close at hand.
A number of police services have AEDs in their vehicles. Unfortunately, coverage is not uniform and comprehensive. Some areas still have not started making these life-saving devices available.
When I was mayor of Victoriaville, my team and I made sure, given what happened to my friend Stéphane, that every municipal building, sports facility and emergency response vehicle was equipped with a defibrillator. Furthermore, during the Souper du maire, a call went out to the people of the business community to ask them to purchase these devices themselves. In the two or three weeks that followed, more than a hundred businesses had gotten defibrillators.
The AED is an essential device for saving lives. Like most citizens, I want to know that my children, my family, my friends and all of our fellow citizens are safe, no matter where there are. I want to know that even if they are farther from a hospital, they are safe because emergency vehicles and public places are equipped with AEDs. All Canadians deserve the same chance, the same level of safety, no matter where they decide to live, in the city or in the country. Every person should have an equal chance of survival, and no one should be penalized for the location they chose to raise their family.
Someone suffers a heart attack every 12 minutes. It is a fact that the farther that person is from a hospital, the lower his or her chances of survival are. Why is that? Because the chances of survival are just about zero when a cardiac arrest victim gets to hospital; it is already too late. For the victim to have a better chance of survival, without aftereffects, an AED must be used as soon as possible.
As I stated previously, for every minute that passes, the chances of survival are 7% to 10% lower. We have no more than 10 minutes to save the victim, hence the urgent need to equip all emergency vehicles in Canada with defibrillators.
Fortunately, AEDs are easy to use. No training is needed to use one. Every AED has an on-board feature that describes each step in its operation, and the device decides on the strength of the shock to be administered. It is impossible to injure someone by mistake with a defibrillator, since only a person in cardiac arrest will receive a shock.
So, in my view, only one conclusion is possible: Having more AEDs available will save more lives every year. We can substantially increase the number of survivors by equipping emergency vehicles with AEDs.
The concern that many people have about equipping every emergency vehicle with an AED is, of course, the cost. But that small device is less expensive than you might think. On average, an AED costs between $1,000 and $2,000. That is a pittance in comparison with the value of the lives saved.
There is no doubt in my mind that AEDs are absolutely necessary to save the lives of our fellow citizens. AEDs clearly have a very important role to play in helping people survive a heart attack. They can save hundreds or even thousands of lives every year. That is a statistic we cannot ignore.
I am confident that with your study and the recommendations it will produce, the outcome will be positive. More Canadians will be able to live safely and with peace of mind; more first responders will be able to take concrete action in the event of a cardiac arrest; and of course, more lives will be saved every year. This is a concrete solution that can help increase people's chances of survival.
Consequently, I am asking you specifically to include not just RCMP vehicles but all emergency vehicles in the study.
I hope that we will be able to save lives by carrying out this study. That is my profound hope, and I offer you my full support.
Thank you.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Excuse me, can you repeat the question, while I fix the device?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Equipping all emergency vehicles with defibrillators is important, simply because, in many places, the paramedics aren't the first ones to arrive on the scene in situations of cardiac arrest. In my friend's case, there was a defibrillator in the arena. However, we can assume that police officers are often the first to arrive on the scene when people are located slightly further away from hospitals or from the paramedics' stations, for example, in the countryside.
If we made an effort to study how we could support all the safety agencies across Canada, we could save more lives. Furthermore, I even think that it would be timely to ask ourselves if we should include volunteer groups. Some communities call on volunteers to respond to emergencies. Take indigenous peoples and First Nations, for example. I didn't check, but I'm not sure that all of their vehicles are equipped with defibrillators. We could do something to that end.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Yes. you can have that type of device, but, because the technology has advanced, there are now devices that are much smaller. Some are also portable. I even know someone who bought one for himself and keeps it in his car or in his house. Given the current competition in manufacturing the products, a device of that kind costs about $1,000. The device is not very big and it can be easily carried around by anyone who wants to buy one. It measures about 1 foot by 1 foot. It looks like the devices that usually hang on walls.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
It is not complicated: without a defibrillator nearby, if you are not in a hospital, or somewhere with a defibrillator, such as a municipal or government building, your chances of survival are practically nil.
Even when there is a defibrillator in a building, the problem is knowing where it is. That is quite the challenge. When I was mayor, we had a situation just like that. After installing the defibrillators, we had to put signage in place to make sure that they were readily accessible. For example, if someone had a heart attack in the committee room we are now in, I am not even sure if I would know where to find a defibrillator so that I could respond quickly and come to the assistance of the person in distress. That is an additional challenge that we will also have to address.
In the motion I am tabling today, the priority is to equip all the vehicles we have. It is very simple: the chances of survival go down 10% per minute. You can look at the statistics to see the average time taken for an ambulance to get to the scene of an incident. I am not sure of the exact figure, but if the average is six minutes, it means that the person has a 40% chance of survival left. The longer it takes, the more permanent the consequences are likely to be.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Yes, exactly. It is more than significant. It is a question of survival for a lot of people.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
For the most part, first responders are already trained. They are professionals, so would they need a little extra training? In my opinion, it could be quite quick.
I can tell you that, from my own personal experience, it is quite a simple exercise. We even established first responder training for people with a handicap or a challenge. A 10-year-old child can go through the drill; you just have to take the device, open it and put it on the patient's chest. The device gives you all the information you need and tells you what to do.
I invite you to ask someone to come to give you a demonstration. It would be a very good idea for an expert to come and show committee members how the device works. You would see that it is something quite simple.
Before anyone asks, I have calculated how much it would cost. According to my data, which perhaps are not the most up-to-date, it would cost $8 million at most to equip all emergency vehicles and finish the work started by a number of services across the country. When I look at the budget of the federal government, I do not consider that to be an astronomical expense.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Yes, exactly.
I would not say that the RCMP has not started the process. According to my data, some divisions in some areas, in British Columbia, for example, have already begun to equip their vehicles with defibrillators. The same goes for the Sûreté du Québec. I can also tell you that a number of municipal forces have begun the process.
I assume that, if everyone had not begun the process in 2018, it must have been for budgetary reasons. Today, I do not see why all emergency vehicles have not been equipped with defibrillators. This shows how important it is for your committee to conduct a little more exhaustive study of the situation, to do the necessary assessments, and then to submit its recommendations.
I must emphasize one thing in regard to this motion. I have separated it into two distinct stages, because I really wanted it to be passed. I feel that jurisdictions have to be respected, but, once the analysis is done, nothing is preventing the government from coming to an agreement with the provinces, the territories, the First Nations and the municipalities to determine the best way to provide the necessary financial resources, if that is the obstacle in the way of the project.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Yes. I even go further. I must point out that my motion is not simply about the police, but about all emergency vehicles. I feel that firefighters should be included. It might even be worthwhile to look at volunteer emergency vehicles. We know that some communities have an emergency system that relies on volunteers. If we do this exercise, we could increase manyfold the number of people who could provide first aid when unfortunate incidents occur.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Exactly.
Basically, it would not be right for me to make a motion that involves all other jurisdictions. So, for this motion, I focused on the RCMP. I have to tell you that Ralph Goodale, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, introduced a similar project in 2013. I used it as a model, but I did not want to limit myself to the RCMP.
I come from Quebec, as you know. In Quebec, we do not have RCMP officers, but we have other police forces. In my view, the exercise must be done for all Canadians. We represent all Canadians, in all parts of the country. It would not be right for me to have introduced a motion asking the committee to do work and come up with recommendations that left part of Canada's population unassisted.
I defer to you to recommend the best way for the government to go about starting the procedure as quickly as possible. I hope that it can be done in the next budget year.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I’m sure they have all taken first aid courses. Today, everyone in the police force must have basic training.
Some people may have fears. In fact, I had some myself when defibrillators were installed in our municipality. Some people are afraid to use the device, even if they are told that they just have to follow the instructions. It can be a disturbing situation for many people when something like that happens.
Having said that, I think basic training is given to police officers.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
That’s a very good question. I think we should probably look into that.
I don't have a lot of experience in the area, but from what I've read on the subject, the defibrillator will not work if it is not a cardiac arrest. In other words, the defibrillator will not be activated if it is not a cardiac arrest.
I don't believe the stories we have heard in the past about people giving heart massages and, for various reasons, breaking the person's ribs or causing other damage.
That being said, I am not an expert on justice and I do not want to get into that too much. However, I believe that, in an emergency situation, we have an obligation to provide first aid as best we can. I repeat that, according to everything I have read about cardiac defibrillators, the machine does not work if there is no cardiac arrest.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I'll be very honest with you: the forecast is that it would cost about $8 million to finalize the project to equip all emergency vehicles with defibrillators. So it's less than $1 million per province, if you do a quick calculation. That's an approximate figure. My training as a math teacher helps me get that figure fairly quickly.
Compared to other issues where the federal government has negotiated with all the provinces, I think it is a tiny amount. All it takes for this project to apply to the entire country and to all organizations is some political will.
Now that I am a federal member, I am trying to push the issue further. I did the exercise while I was at the municipal level: I asked myself what role I could play as mayor of the municipality. I have shown leadership. I could not impose this measure on companies or the Sûreté du Québec. I could only influence the firefighters and the volunteer safety organization in my municipality. I think it's largely a leadership issue. As I said before, I do not think money is blocking the project.
Now that I am a federal legislator like all of you here, my wish quite simply is that all Canadians across the country have the same chances of survival.
I expect that, as a result of your study, your committee will have gathered all the research, will have more tools than I had to do the first part of the work and will be able to make recommendations. I guess that is the sort of thing that could be relatively easy to impose in a budget. That being said, as you all know, my motion could not include items with a budgetary cost, since I am not a member of the government. However, I think it is something that could very well be done.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Absolutely. The Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security could make other recommendations, but I would not want those recommendations to interfere with this project.
My brother is a firefighter with the City of Montreal, so I sort of know how it works. The City of Montreal firefighters are first responders. Their stations are much more dispersed across their territory. Often, they arrive first at the scene, until other people arrive who will be able to provide the services that the situation requires.
My only goal is to increase the number of people with defibrillators who can get to the scene quickly, be they police officers, firefighters or paramedics. They could also be volunteer responders or professional volunteers, as I like to call them. These people have basic training and want to give their time. If there was no defibrillator in a nearby building, at least the first responders on the scene would have one in their vehicle and could use it.
That is the main purpose of my motion. That said, I would never be against adding more resources to security services.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I think all professionals will ask for basic training.
As for the maintenance of those devices, we will have to rely on their technical features. I think you have to test them after a while, but I can't answer that with certainty. I am convinced that the companies that sell those devices provide details on the technical things to do to ensure that they work properly.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
In my opinion, if there is a cost, it must be extremely minimal. Professionals who own these devices could very well do tests after one, two or three years, depending on the features of the devices. It must be relatively easy to do. I am sure that the companies that manufacture those devices have included a system similar to that of a smoke detector, that is, if the battery is defective after a certain time, a signal is sent to change it. I haven't done a study on that, but I'm sure that, if you invite suppliers here, you'll find out fairly quickly. Today, there are more and more suppliers of those devices.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Yes, absolutely. You put your finger on a major problem. Once defibrillators are in place in buildings, the problem is really the signage. Once someone has seen something like that or has participated in a process to set up their surroundings with defibrillators, they are much more careful. From my personal experience, I can tell you that, when I walk around a public place like a shopping mall and I see one of those devices, I make a mental note of where it is located. Organizations that purchase them will have some work to do to inform people about where the devices are located.
In my motion, since I did not want to go all over the place, I really focused on the aspects that I thought were the most important. I wanted emergency service professionals to have those devices in their vehicles.
In this case, I don't think it's a problem, since those professionals would know how to use them. However, when you meet with experts—as I hope you will—if those issues are addressed, it may not be a bad idea to make other recommendations to push the issue even further. The idea is to make people realize that they are installing those devices thinking they are doing a good thing, but then they fail to work on raising awareness.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
That's a very good question. I don't know how it should be done. I leave it up to the committee to determine which model would be the best. If we come to the conclusion that it is a necessity, we will have to find the best way to proceed. For example, federal money could be transferred to other authorities, or it could be a group purchase through Public Services and Procurement Canada, which would purchase the defibrillators and distribute them. A remaining question is whether, so as to be fair to everyone, the government should consider compensating those who have already purchased those types of devices themselves.
I am thinking here of the question Mr. Dubé asked earlier about jurisdictions. I don't think the amount is large enough to create conflicts. No one is against motherhood and apple pie. I sincerely feel that, if a federal report highlighted this shortcoming and pointed out an inequity across the country, the rest would be relatively simple to manage later, during a budget year.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Yes, we did a little research with the people at the Library of Parliament. If I am not mistaken, based on the data we have, it would be about $5 million in the case of the RCMP. We estimated that it would cost about $8 million to equip all emergency vehicles with defibrillators. That being said, we should certainly look at this a little more thoroughly in order to update the data.
Let me reiterate that the first part of the motion is for the RCMP, for jurisdiction purposes, but I still believe that, if you decide to make recommendations, we should go further. I am thinking particularly of the First Nations. The government, and I think Parliament as a whole, is very sensitive to what is happening within First Nations. They often have independent police forces and want to have their own services. It would be helpful if you did the research. I did not, I have to admit, but I am deeply convinced that their areas could be better equipped with cardiac defibrillators.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
No, but my son works in computers, so I'll give him the idea of setting up such a project. He could get very rich.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Honestly, I think that's a great idea. That would be a very interesting option.
Let me use my municipality as an example, because it is very specific. After it was equipped with defibrillators, the communications department posted the information on its website, but people still need to think about checking the municipality's website to find out where they can find a defibrillator. It would be nice if there were a little free app. I am sure that creating such an app would not be very expensive. It could be a good sign of leadership on the part of the government to create such an app or to entrust this fine project to a young person.
That's a very good idea, Mr. Chair.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Yeah, that's right. A priori, if the federal government takes the initiative, it could take responsibility for the file and ensure that the entire territory is adequately equipped at the same time. This wouldn't be the first time the federal government has taken action that affects all of Canada, regardless of province or territory. This could even be part of the negotiations on health funds transferred to the provinces and territories. A provision could be included for an additional amount for this measure.
Keep in mind that, for the entire territory, the total cost of this measure is estimated at about $8 million. Generally speaking, this would represent $750,000 per province or territory, if they all had the same population. That is very little, compared to other amounts that are transferred. It would be relatively easy to do.
The more we talk about it, the more interesting I find the idea of including First Nations in the calculation. I don't think that was part of the $8 million I arrived at. Anyway, I don't think it would be much higher if First Nations were included.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Yes, that would be very appropriate.
I repeat that I hope the federal government will take responsibility for this file. In my opinion, the amount of money is completely laughable compared to the magnitude of the benefits it could have on the population as a whole.
Will the government decide to negotiate for training to be taken over by professional organizations? This could be quite appropriate as well, since they already offer training. Given your experience, you could tell us more, but I think it would be very simple to then add half an hour or an hour to the emergency training offered to all stakeholders in all sectors.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Yes. My motion ignores that because I limited myself to emergency vehicles. I didn't want to start interfering with other jurisdictions. That said, this measure could go very far. It could go as far as municipalities. It could even be applied through school boards across Canada. We should think about that. This has been a challenge for many sports facilities. Another challenge we faced was sitting down with the school board and the health care centre to make sure they were everywhere in the municipality.
The examples you're talking about are in the private sector. Could we raise awareness so that these organizations can equip themselves with devices? I don't believe that the government should pay instead of private companies in this case.
However, if the movement is well under way, perhaps it would be appropriate for the various chambers of commerce associations or federations, such as the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, to conduct awareness campaigns. Ultimately, this could be a tax credit. It might be a good idea to offer a tax credit to any company that decides to purchase a defibrillator.
That being said, I want to say that this is not part of my motion. However, if you want to make a recommendation to go further, I would be happy to do so, and I would see no problem with that, provided, of course, that my motion is adopted first.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Your data is correct. It has been shown that 80% of heart problems could be prevented by smoking less, eating better, drinking less alcohol and, of course, exercising more. Prevention is the key to success in improving our quality of life, living longer and, above all, living better. That said, even a perfectly healthy person can go into cardiac arrest. That is why this motion was introduced.
Indeed, this should not in any way minimize the efforts and work to promote healthy lifestyles that all organizations do at all levels. I no longer know what the health budget is across Canada, but it must be well over 50% of the total budget. Emergencies are always being responded to, and perhaps not enough is being done in terms of prevention. You're absolutely right that it doesn't take away from our obligation to insist that there be prevention work.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
First, I will talk about business people. Everyone is aware of the labour shortage across Canada. If I owned a business, I would want to take care of my staff. Many companies offer favourable conditions to do more sports, give credits to employees who become members of a fitness centre, or install showers and training centres on site. Not all companies do this, but those with the means do.
I love the idea that has been put forward of offering tax credits to companies that buy defibrillators, which would increase the number of defibrillators.
I seem to be hammering away and repeating myself, but that has nothing to do with my motion. I wanted to focus on emergency vehicles across Canada. However, if the expert testimony leads you to make other recommendations that will increase the number of these devices and increase the federal government's efforts to promote healthy lifestyles, I am certainly not the one who will oppose them. On the contrary, I would be very happy. However, I would like us to focus on one thing. I would not want the report to be overburdened and the essential thing forgotten, which is to equip all emergency vehicles across Canada with defibrillators.
I'm not an expert in health or science, but I know that even if a person is very fit, they can go into cardiac arrest. We see that most cardiac arrests occur in sports venues. We all exercise to get fit, but unfortunately we can get injured. For various reasons, people go into cardiac arrest with intense effort. It's a big issue.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
That is a very wise comment. I haven't checked whether governments elsewhere in the world have taken the initiative to do that. I invite you to ask that we do some research on this subject. It was about whether we are lagging behind other countries or whether we will become leaders in the field.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Yes, that's right. I'm convinced that a report from the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security that would be support by all parliamentarians, and therefore by the government, of course, could get things moving quickly. I'm convinced that, if things were conducted smoothly, this could be resolved before the end of the mandate. There is still one budget year left. In other words, we should try to get there as quickly as possible.
I still believe that, in our budget year, these amounts are a trifle. I am convinced that if we brought people around the table who would even be a little bit wild, it would be quite possible to find these sums within a budgetary framework. At least, we could negotiate or discuss with the premiers or representatives of the provinces, territories and First Nations. We could send a very clear message. I'm also thinking, considering all the comments you have made, that it would be possible, at the same time, to encourage the economic community as a whole, as well as educational and health institutions, to equip themselves with these devices. That would create movement.
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