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Ontario lowering minimum age requirement to be a lifeguard

June 15, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

Pools across the country, including the Rotary Pool in Alliston, have seen a shortage of lifeguards this year due to a lack of training during the pandemic.

The Rotary pool operates with reduced hours this year because the minimum number of lifeguards needed to keep the pool open full-time could not be found.

The Ontario government has announced it is lowering the minimum age requirement to be a lifeguard, assistant lifeguard, and aquatic instructor from 16 to 15 to help communities address the staffing shortages and make sure pools and recreational camp waterfronts across the province can be enjoyed safely.

“As school [ends] for the summer and the weather warms up, we spend more time enjoying pools and camp waterfronts,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Lowering the age for youth to become lifeguards creates more job opportunities for youth in a rewarding position that can help keep community pools and recreational camp waterfronts safe.”

The changes went into effect on June 2. Access to lifeguards will help operators maintain and expand their hours of operation for public swimming and aquatic lessons.

Lifeguards must pass a series of swimming tests and hold appropriate certifications, such as a current lifeguard or assistant lifeguard certificate or a current aquatic instructor certificate, to work safely.

National Lifeguard training and certification is delivered by the Lifesaving Society, which provides the professional standard for lifeguarding in Canada. It certifies lifeguards across the country and is recognized by the province of Ontario for lifeguarding public swimming pools.

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