Edmonton Journal (09.13.07) - Friday, September 14, 2007
The provincial government of Alberta has passed the Mandatory
Testing and Disclosure Act, which requires compulsory testing
of people who expose police, firefighters, paramedics, and
other emergency workers to bodily fluids. The law takes effect
Oct. 1, and mandates testing for HIV and other communicable
The legislation means that anyone, an emergency worker or
simply a Good Samaritan, can go to a judge or justice of the
peace and apply for an order compelling someone who has
contaminated them with bodily fluids to provide a medical
sample. It is expected that those exposed will get the
mandatory test results within days.
Emergency workers have been spat upon, bitten, and stabbed
with needles. Edmonton Police Chief Mike Boyd said his
officers experienced 40 bodily-fluid exposures in 2006 and 12
exposures so far this year. Of those 12, two people refused to
provide blood samples, Boyd said. He added that the new law
brings peace of mind to emergency workers across the province.
Emergency Medical Services Chief Steve Rapanos said paramedics
were jabbed with needles or otherwise exposed to bodily fluids
18 times last year. There have been 14 incidents in 2007 so
far. Fire Chief Randy Wolsey said his workers were exposed to
bodily fluids five times so far this year.