Helmets Mandatory on Nova Scotia's Ski Hills

Health and Wellness

December 6, 2011 12:39 PM

The province is taking steps to reduce ski-related head injuries and protect Nova Scotians who take to the slopes, with legislation introduced today, Dec. 6. The legislation will make wearing ski helmets mandatory for all ages.

"Many Nova Scotians enjoy activities like skiing and snowboarding to stay active over the winter months, but these are activities that should be enjoyed safely," said Maureen MacDonald, Minister of Health and Wellness. "Wearing a helmet greatly reduces the risk of suffering a traumatic brain injury and could be the one thing on the hill that saves a life."

Since 2000, there have been 11 traumatic brain injuries attributed to people skiing or snowboarding without a helmet in Nova Scotia. The Snowsport Helmet Act will be the first legislation of its kind in the world, and will continue to position Nova Scotia as a leader in helmet safety.

Recognized for its wheeled activities legislation, requiring people of all ages to wear helmets when cycling, Nova Scotia reports the highest rate of bike helmet use in North America, with the lowest rate of cycling-related brain injuries in Canada.

Lynne Fenerty, research manager with the QEII Health Sciences Centre division of neurosurgery said the incidence of skiing-related brain injuries is increasing and that most of these injuries are preventable.

"Head injuries are the leading cause of death among skiers of all ages, and helmet-use reduces the risk for skiers by up to 60 per cent," said Ms. Fenerty. "We have worked with ski hill operators in the past to improve helmet use, and I would like to commend them on their leadership.

"In spite of these initiatives, a quarter of skiers and snowboarders still remain vulnerable. This legislation will help ensure that all Nova Scotians remain safer on the slopes."

Highlights from the legislation include:
-- anyone 16 years of age or older is responsible to ensure they are wearing a helmet
-- parents or guardians are responsible to ensure anyone under 16 in their care is wearing a helmet
-- ski hill operators are responsible to ensure signs are posted making users aware of mandatory helmet use
-- if an inspector sees a violation, the individual could face up to a $250 fine for each offence.

The legislation would come into effect Nov.1.


     The province is taking steps to protect Nova Scotians

against ski-related head injuries with legislation

introduced today (December 6th) that will require mandatory,

all-ages helmet use on the province's ski hills.

     Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald says wearing

a helmet greatly reduces the risk of suffering a traumatic brain

injury and could be the one thing on the hill that saves a life.

     A recognized leader in helmet safety with its all-ages bike

helmet legislation, Nova Scotia will continue to lead with the

Snowsport Helmet Act, the first legislation of its kind in the


     Under the legislation, anyone caught not wearing a helmet

could risk a fine of $250.
     The legislation would come into effect November 1st.


Media Contact: Tony Kiritsis
              Health and Wellness
              E-mail: tony.kiritsis@gov.ns.ca