To Save a Life

Question: La formation premiers-soins devrait-elle être obligatoire pour tous les citoyens du Canada?


About half of all Canadians have had experience in first aid training sometime in the last five years, according to The Canadian Red Cross – a number that some consider to be worryingly small.

The question of whether or not first aid training should be made mandatory in Canada has been a much-debated subject over the past few years. The topic isn’t just a dilemma over here either, countries all over the world remain divided over the relevancy of first aid training as an obligated certification for its citizens! Still, the question remains: should first aid training be made mandatory for all Canadian citizens?

When looking at its pros, first aid training presents itself pretty well. From splinting an arm to doing CPR (cardiopulmonary respiration) or from bandaging a scratch to dealing with life-threatening bleeding, first aid training offers a large and versatile set of skills that have the potential to save another person’s life… if not your own. Although first aid training is usually thought to be especially of use in workplace environments (specifically for jobs that require physical handling, such as working in an assembly line), skills learnt from a first aid training certification can come to play at any other time of the day: while attending school, spending time with friends and family, or even while not doing anything in particular.

An assembly line at Ford. || Source:

But what about the cons? Well aside from concerns related to cost (first aid training usually costs anywhere from 25$ and 200$), time consumption (first aid training can take anywhere from three hours to two days to complete), and a series of unfounded fears – namely of being forced into helping someone in need when you are still unsure of your skills (don’t worry, you are not legally obliged to give first aid, even if you are certified); there really aren’t all that many negatives. In reality, the only thing truly stopping all Canadian citizens from getting comfortable with these valuable life skills, is a matter of accessibility.

Considering both the positives and negatives (or absence thereof) that usually arise from such a training, I strongly believe that the matter of first aid training as a mandatory certification shouldn’t even need to be debated. Instead, the Canadian government should be making it their mission to make first aid training more accessible to Canadian citizens. First aid training – which in many ways, is a basic human right – should be seamlessly integrated into our daily lives as common knowledge.

Doing so is easy. Why not find a way to integrate first aid training into the curriculum? What about fitting it into physical education, alongside sex education? Why not begin funding first aid training courses for all workplaces? Why not work towards creating community resources catered towards first aid, for all Canadian municipalities? Making first aid training more accessible may come at a cost, but it is a small price to pay for the gift of life.

4 réflexions au sujet de “To Save a Life”

  1. Hey Cathlin!
    I really appreciated this article because unlike many other articles, you really identified the pros AND the cons to make your decision and show your understanding of both sides of the debate. I also found that it was very important and smart of you to give ideas and alternatives to applying first aid to our everyday lives to accommodate to every citizen’s needs and wants. However, I wonder; do you think first aid training should be mandatory, or simply more easily accessible? Would making it mandatory be problematic in your opinion?

    1. Hi Abir,

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading my take on first aid in Canada. My position on the matter is not so much of a debate on whether or not first aid training should be mandatory, but rather of a critique on the government’s actions (or lack thereof). I believe that first aid training, as a basic human capability, should be made more accessible to all Canadian citizens. This would mean eliminating direct costs when taking such a course, as well as finding simple ways to integrate this certification in the education system and work force. I believe the government should be taking action accordingly, because when you think about it, there really aren’t any reasonable negatives. Do you have any concerns in mind? I would gladly address them. 🙂


  2. Hello,
    Interesting article. I like how you showed the pros and cons of first-aid training in Canada. When I heard that half of all Canadians had first-aid training, I was actually surprised at how high that number is. I definitely thought it was much lower than that. With that being said, in your opinion, if a larger number of Canadians had first-aid training, would we see a change in certain statistics, like the number of deaths caused by heart attacks or similar problems?

  3. Cathlin Han, I love your articles. I really do agree with you; First Aid training should be made mandatory to all Canadian citizens. Like you said, First Aid training is a basic human right that should be integrated into our daily lives as common knowledge. We both know that having the knowledge of First Aid can be beneficial to everyone, but if it was an obligated training course to take, at what age would you make it an obligation to take it? Because it’s not like 3 to 4-year-old kids would even remotely understand what First Aid is.

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