First Aid Law in Canada
In most of Canada, you do not have a legal obligation to help a person in need. However, in Quebec, you have a duty to respond to an emergency.
In Canada, we have Acts that protect neighbours who help out in an emergency. The acts are named differently across the country, but they are most widely known as the Good Samaritan Act in Canada.
Good Samaritan Act
The Good Samaritan Act protects people from some forms of liability for injuries caused by providing medical care.
The Good Samaritan Act is a law that protects people who come to the aid of others in emergency situations. The law is meant to encourage people to help those in need, without fear of legal consequences.
An example of the Good Samaritan Act includes when someone becomes unconscious from a traffic collision. Medical treatment may be provided to them, even if they cannot expressly provide consent for it.
You will not be successfully sued if you:
Identify yourself, ask for permission to help, act as a reasonable person would, and stay with the person (unless the scene is unsafe).
First aiders must:
If you're going to give someone care:
Ask for permission to help.
Provide the care you are trained to provide.
Continue providing care until:
The scene becomes unsafe.
Someone else takes over.
You are too tired to continue.
The condition improves and further care is no longer warranted.
Getting Permission to Help an Injured Person
If they are a child without an adult caretaker, call 9-1-1 and provide assistance and help them if it's safe to do so.
If the patient refuses care, call 9-1-1, and stay with them if it is safe to do so. Do not provide care unless they become unconscious.
It is assumed that someone who is not responsive has given their permission to make contact with them and provide care. This is implied consent.
If someone is unconscious and at risk of injury or death, the law allows others to try and save them. You have their implied consent. You are legally allowed to provide first aid. The act that protects you from being legally liable is the Good Samaritan Act.
Quebec Duty to Rescue
In Quebec, you have a general duty to rescue in an emergency. As detailed in the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms Section 2 “Every human being whose life is in peril has a right to assistance.” Therefore, you must assist anyone whose life is in danger unless providing care is dangerous for yourself or another person, or you have another valid reason. Providing assistance includes calling for help and/or providing physical assistance.
Duty to Assist
The duty to assist means that you are obligated to help someone in need if they are physically or mentally unable, or if they are unable because they are not able to do things for themselves. There are some exceptions, such as if the scene is dangerous for you, or if the person has made it clear that they do not want your help.