Ontario lowering minimum age requirement to be a lifeguard

The Ontario government has announced that they will be lowering the minimum age requirement to be a lifeguard, assistant lifeguard, and aquatic instructor by one year, from 16 to 15 years of age. This change is intended to help communities address staffing shortages and make sure pools and recreational camp waterfronts across the province can be enjoyed safely. The adjustment aligns the minimum age requirements with updated age requirements established by the Lifesaving Society’s certification course.

“As school rises 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.”

These changes came into effect on June 2, 2023. As a result, communities will now have access to more lifeguards, allowing businesses and municipalities to hire additional staff ahead of the upcoming summer. Access to more lifeguards also helps 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, assistant lifeguard, or aquatic instructor certificate – to be able to safely work as lifeguards, assistant lifeguards, or aquatic instructors. Delivered by the Lifesaving Society, the National Lifeguard training and certification is the professional standard for lifeguarding in Canada. This training certifies lifeguards across the country and is recognized by the province of Ontario for lifeguarding public swimming pools. The Lifesaving Society lowered its age requirement for the national lifeguard certificate from 16 to 15 years of age in July 2020.


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