Last Updated Thursday, February 16, 2023 9:00PM UTC
“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” - Theodore Roosevelt
You’ve taken a First Aid class. You’ve learned how to deliver CPR. You even learned how to revive someone who has overdosed by using nasal Naloxone. You have all this skill and knowledge, but perhaps you’re worried that if you’re ever called upon to use your skills, you might be found liable if you don’t manage to save the person you’re helping. Thanks to Good Samaritan Acts which exists in every province and territory in Canada (though sometimes known by different names), you don’t need to worry – the acts protect you if you help someone in need of medical assistance.
(Haven’t taken a first aid and/or CPR course recently? There’s no time like the present – see what courses we have available here: https://sja.ca/en/first-aid-training)
If you accidently injure the person you’re helping, you are protected by law as long as you were not grossly negligent with your actions. This should give you peace of mind if you’re hesitant or afraid to act – rest assured that no legal action can be taken against you if you accidently cause injury or death.
Quebec is the only province that specifies a DUTY to respond to someone in medical need. This means that you MUST help in any way you can! In every other province/territory, responding to the emergency is voluntary.
There is also a Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act across Canada. This provides some legal protection for those that experience or witness a drug overdose. If you experience this, you should not be afraid to call 911 for help. This act can help save countless lives as it reduces the fear associated with getting help.
This act can protect you from charges for possession of a controlled substance and breach of conditions regarding simple possession of controlled substances in:
- pre-trial release
- probation orders
- conditional sentences
It protects anyone seeking emergency support, whether they remain at the scene or not. It does not protect more serious offenses that are not outlined in the act. This act has even been credited with an increase in overdose calls which means that countless more lives have the opportunity to be saved. (Source: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/waterloo-regional-police-increase-overdose-calls-1.5430849)
There is no better time to learn CPR and other lifesaving skills. Learn how to save a life today by taking a St. John Ambulance first aid course: click here to find a course.