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Thursday, March 4, 1999 — Ontario’s Minister of Education the Hon. David Johnson unveils, today, the new secondary school curriculum with CPR as required learning for the first time ever in physical education and health! Beginning in September 1999, the program will be integrated at the Grade 9 level, involving 150,000 students every year.

This announcement follows the success of the ACT Foundation’s CPR pilots in Toronto, Ottawa and Prescott-Russell, involving 18,000 students in 80 schools. Ontario is the first stop in ACT’s cross-Canada campaign to see CPR as required learning in every high school.

“By integrating CPR into the heart of the high school curriculum, all Ontario youth will be equipped with the skills and knowledge to save the life of a family member or friend,” says Sandra Clarke, Executive Director of the ACT Foundation. “Students take this knowledge to their present and future families.”

“The program equips our youth to act in an emergency rather than stand by helplessly. This empowers teens, builds confidence and self esteem and will save lives,” says Dr. Justin Maloney, Medical Director of the Base Hospital Program for Ottawa-Carleton.

In fact, the program is already saving lives. Sixty-year-old Nick Weatherston suffered a cardiac arrest from heart attack following a game of tennis in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Kasia Smetny-Sova, a 17-year-old Ottawa student who was vacationing in Halifax at the time, used her school-based CPR skills and saved his life.

“I applaud the Ontario government in this commitment to bring CPR to Ontario youth,” says Gerry McDole, CEO of Astra Pharma. “As long standing supporters of ACT and CPR training, my colleagues and I urge business and community leaders across Ontario to support the initiative to outfit local schools with CPR mannequins. It is a tremendous investment in young people and in health care.”

The ACT Foundation plays a key role in helping schools establish the program and in finding local partners to outfit schools with CPR mannequins and other resources. In Toronto, the National Post and Subway donated 500 mannequins for this year’s program expansion. The National Post also printed the student CPR manual.

Service clubs are also supportive. “Over 50 per cent of the Ontario Kiwanis Club divisions are enthusiastically committed to the high school CPR project and are exploring ways and means of ensuring that as many schools as possible are fully equipped with mannequins as soon as possible,” says immediate past Governor Jim Rowney on behalf of present Governor Ken Cotterill.

The ACT Foundation is a national non-profit organization dedicated to making CPR required learning in every Canadian high school. ACT’s corporate health partners are companies in the research intensive pharmaceutical industry: Astra Pharma Inc., Hoechst Marion Roussel Canada, Merck Frosst Canada and Parke-Davis, a Division of Warner-Lambert.