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nova-scotiaThe maritime province of Nova Scotia in eastern Canada has become the first ski region to make it mandatory for all skiers and snowboarders, whatever their age, to wear a helmet when on the slopes.

The legislation is set to come into effect from November 2012, and anyone caught not wearing a helmet could be fined up to CAD$250.



The impetus behind the bill is understood to be a combination of two things. Since 2000, there have been 11 traumatic brain injuries on the slopes, with several resulting in fatalities and each costing the local healthcare system approximately CAD$400,000. Furthermore, the province has the highest rate of bike helmet use in North America with the lowest rate of cycling-related brain injuries in Canada.

Research undertaken for the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness showed that almost 90 per cent of skiers and snowboarders already wear a helmet, and the bill faced no major opposition from any groups or individuals.

Since the bill was announced, the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) has issued a call to action for helmets to be made mandatory for skiers and snowboarders across Canada. The proposal has received strong opposition from Whistler, who believe raising awareness and leaving the final choice up to the individual has seen numbers of helmet wearers in the British Columbia resort rise from 22 per cent to 75 per cent over the past nine years.

Currently, New Jersey is the only state to require minors to wear a helmet on the slopes, while stopping short of legislation Jackson Hole requires resort staff to wear a lid.