Legal Implications of First Aid

Participants in a standard first aid course will use practical activities to demonstrate a understanding of the legal implication of providing first aid treatment. The material posted on this page is for learning purposes only. Take a course with one of providers located throughout Canada, with a provider now offering courses in Ottawa, to learn all the components of legal implications of first aid. Prior to applying “first aid” to a victim a rescuer must understand the legal implication to first aid. Without understanding or applying certain procedures rescuers can be held liable under law. This page will outline some key notes and requirements for candidates to complete standard first aid training.

Candidates taking the standard first aid course should understand:

  • Provincial legislation in applying first aid.
    Obtaining consent

    Ensure that you obtain consent prior to providing aid. Legal implications vary for every province and state.

  • The standard of care.
  • What is consent and when it has to be given.
  • When to start first aid.
  • When to stop.

Each province in Canada has its own “Good Samaritan” legislation and candidates need to be aware of the legislation in their province or territory. Participants must also be aware of the of the automated external defibrillator (AED) legislation in their province or territory. Rescuers should obtain consent from parents or caregivers prior to treating a child or infant. When a victim is unconscious consent is implied. Candidates need to have a understanding of the “Do Not Resuscitate”  orders that some victims might carry.

When making contact with victims proficient rescuers will:

  • Immediately start reassuring the victim.
  • Introduce themselves and say “Hello”.
  • Ask if you can help.
  • Learn and use victims names.
  • Make the victim aware of your skills and experience in first aid.

To successfully complete standard first aid training candidates must:

  1. Obtain consent before beginning treatment
  2. Be able to describe when treatment should not be initiated (example: coughing, conscious and choking victim).
  3. Be able to describe when treatment can be stopped.

Participants that do not possess and demonstrate these skills and knowledge will not complete the standard first aid course or re-certification. It is vital for candidates to know the legal implications of applying first aid to a victim of all ages.