Parachute, a national organization dedicated to injury prevention has sent a letter to the Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra in support of changing the law in Canada to make lifejackets/PFDs mandatory for kids in recreational boating.
Parachute’s vision is to create a safer Canada by preventing serious and fatal injuries through evidence-based solutions that advocate and educate. In the letter, they confirm their support and recommend that the process to amend the Small Vessel Regulations begin in 2021, as a key facet of a comprehensive strategy to prevent child drownings.
However, they caution that we should learn from the history of bicycle helmet legislation. Only a few Provinces have helmet legislation for all ages when the risk of injury is not limited by age. In their view there is the opportunity to enact best practices for life jackets/PFDs and require all ages to wear a life jacket or PFD when on a boat.
They further caution:
We must not, however, consider such regulatory change in isolation. While making wearing lifejackets/PFDs mandatory is the correct and necessary legislative action, the prevention of drownings requires a comprehensive, equitable approach. This includes identifying and addressing potential unintended consequences of regulatory action and enforcement. Alongside such legislation, it is critical that lifejackets be made accessible and affordable for marginalized populations. Lifejacket Loaner Stations, which provide lifejackets for the public to borrow and return after use at no cost, are an example of such efforts.
A big thank you to Parachute for their support! To learn more about Parachute, visit Parachute.ca.
Change the law. Save a life.