Qualified aquatic personnel, especially lifeguards and swimming instructors, may find that their services are frequently in high demand. Lifeguards are paramount to maintaining a safe leisure environment and educating the community to enjoy swimming, while focusing on prevention of water related accidents. Instructors are vital to teaching the important life skill of swimming through the delivery of quality aquatic programs in the community. They provide fun, enjoyable swimming lessons for people of all ages that focus on safety.
Employment with the City of Toronto
To become a Lifeguard, Instructor, Assistant Instructor or Wading Pool Attendant with the City of Toronto, you will need the following current certifications:
Instructor: Swim & Lifesaving Instructor certification, Standard First Aid with
CPR-C together with NLS.
National Lifeguard Service (NLS) and Standard First Aid with CPR-C
Wading Pool Attendant:
Wading Pool Attendant or Bronze Cross, Standard First Aid with
Aquatic qualifications must be recertified in order to remain current.
National Lifeguard Service (NLS) : Recertified every two years
Bronze Cross : Recertified every two years
Swim & Lifesaving Instructor : Recertified every two years
Standard First Aid with CPR-C : Full course or recertified every three years, except as NLS prerequisite, see Curriculum and Prerequisites for more details.
Aquafit Instructor : Recertified every two years
Aquatic Leadership Important Information:
Important SFA Information!
Holders of Standard First Aid certificates from other agencies may not
recertify their certificate with a Lifesaving Society recertification course.
They may recertify only with the original certifying agency or take a full
In order to comply with WSIB regulations, Standard First Aid award
holders may do their first SFA recertification at a recertification course
within three years of the original course. Thereafter, individuals must
alternate between full courses and recertification courses in order to renew
Locations Listing and Recommended Route of Courses
Aquatic leadership programs are only available at certain facilities. Please check with the facility beforehand to ensure that your preferred course is offered at that facility. Program information (dates/times/fees/days) are subject to change or be adjusted at time of registration.
There are a series of steps that you must complete to earn the require qualifications. The first portion of the chart to the left shows the recommended courses to take in order to become a qualified Lifeguard & Swim Instructor for the City of Toronto. If you wish to continue and become an Examiner or an Instructor Trainer, follow the second portion of the chart. Pay close attention to the prerequisites and they need to be current (earned within the past 2 years).
Aquatic Leadership Programs FAQ
- Q: Can I miss the first class of the course? I'm taking a vacation.
- A: Please note that 100% attendance is required to complete any aquatic leadership course. (lateness is equivalent to absence)
- Q: What prerequisites do I need for each course and how do I prove that I've fulfilled the prerequisites?
- A: Original prerequisite certifications must be presented at the start of each course. Please consult the individual course descriptions on the Curriculum & Prerequisites page to determine what is required. To check your current awards, visit lifesavingsociety.com and click on the Find a Member/Check Your Qualifications link. Note: If SFA is from an agency other than LSSC, a photocopy must be submitted.
- Q: For my course, the description says I have to be at least 14 years of age. My birthday is during the course; can I still take the course?
- A: Yes, you can take the course. Candidates must turn the identified age prior to the last scheduled day of
- Q: It says for my course that there is a precourse assignment and experience requirement. What does that mean?
- A: Advanced leadership courses may require the candidate to complete a precourse assignment or provide proof of instructional/lifeguarding experience before the course begins. Please consult the individual course descriptions to determine what is required.
- Q: I'm running out of time to get my qualifications! What are crash courses and extended course formats?
- A: Crash courses are the most common format used to deliver advanced aquatic leadership courses. Scheduled for one or two full weekends or over consecutive days (eg. March Break), crash courses are intensive. Extended courses run over a duration of several weeks. The days and hours per week may vary depending on the course.
- Q: What happens if I don't complete a course?
- A: Many courses utilize continuous evaluation. Unsuccessful candidates are required to retake the full course.
- Q: My certification was earned outside of Ontario. What should I do?
- A: You must hold a certification recognized by the Ontario Health Regulations in order to lifeguard in Ontario. Apply to the Lifesaving Society for your out of country awards’ equivalency. Call 416-490-8844 for information.
- Q: I just registered for a new course. What should I bring?
- A: You will need to bring the original certification of the prerequisites required for the course. Be sure to consult individual course descriptions for prerequisites required. Course materials and schedules will be discussed on the first day.
Bathing suit(s) and towel(s) will be needed for the water portions of courses. Other items you may be required to bring include: comfortable clothing, a whistle, notebook/paper, pens/pencils, lunch/dinner/snacks and money for a payphone.