The City of Toronto offers many leadership and certification programs in First Aid, Aquatics, Sports and Camps .

These programs will prepare candidates for both leadership and employment opportunities. For information on how to get hired, visit How to Get Hired in Recreation.

Made to Play: Women and Girls in Sports

Made to Play offers sports opportunities for women and girls.

Pathway to Youth Employment

The Toronto Sports Leadership Program (TSLP) is now called Building Skills through Recreation: Pathway to Youth Employment.

Youth will gain the resources they need to make positive life choices, gain the confidence and skills needed to obtain employment and become leaders in their communities.

Take a certification course and/or job preparedness workshop to learn how to provide recreational opportunities in:

  • Adapted and Inclusive Services: programming for those who have accessibility needs
  • Arts: programs for visual arts, dance, music and more
  • After-school Recreation Care: programs in the afternoon, Monday to Friday
  • Aquatics: swimming programs and lifeguarding
  • Camps: all-day summer camps, winter camps and March Break camps
  • Fitness: cardio and strength classes
  • General Interest: programs like card playing, clubs and computers
  • Ski: learn to ski and snowboard programs
  • Skate: learn to skate, hockey and figure skating programs
  • Sports: programs to teach or play baseball, basketball and more
  • Youth: engage youth in various programs and events

For more information on Building Skills through Recreation: Pathway to Youth Employment, call 416-843-1079.

All Recreation job opportunities with the City of Toronto require current First Aid and Principles of Healthy Child Development (PHCD) certifications.

First Aid Certifications

These certifications are open to all candidates interested in gaining knowledge of first aid. A candidate’s level of interest or employment requirement will determine which first aid certification should be taken.

Emergency First Aid

Emergency First Aid includes CPR-B and is the minimum first aid certification requirement for most employment. This certification is for those who want a general knowledge of:

  • Victim assessment
  • CPR and choking
  • First aid
    • External bleeding
    • Heart attack
    • Stroke
    • Wounds and burns

Standard First Aid

Register on eFun for Standard First Aid

Find out what you need to use eFun on How to Register for Recreation Programs.

Standard First Aid includes CPR-C and provides an in-depth understanding of:

  • first aid
    • spinal injuries
    • heat and cold injuries
    • bone and joint injuries
    • abdominal and chest injuries
    • burns
  • medical emergencies
  • how to use an AED

This program is offered through the Lifesaving Society and is recognized by the Ontario Ministry of Labour or the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. For a list of approved first aid providers, visit the Lifesaving Society.

Certification Length of time from certification date before expiry Recertification Method
Standard First Aid and CPR ‘C’ Three years If the previous certification method was the full course, within three years take the recertification course.

If the previous certification method was the recertification course, after three years take the full course.

For additional registration or course information, go to the Aquatic Certifications section further on this page.

HIGH FIVE®: Principles of Healthy Child Development (PHCD)

HIGH FIVE® provides certifications in quality and safety standards for children’s recreation and sports programs.

PHCD certification is required for employment in City of Toronto Recreation Jobs. PHCD information will be provided to candidates during the hiring process, including course dates and details.

Email for more information.

Aquatics offers two streams of certifications. To become a leader in Aquatic Fitness programs, visit Aquatic Fitness Instructor Certifications.

To learn about Bronze level programs or to become a wading pool attendant, lifeguard or swim instructor, visit Aquatic Leadership.

Course Prerequisites

Certification Prerequisite

It is the responsibility of candidates to make sure they have the correct prerequisites for the course and bring them on the first day.
National Lifeguard candidates must also submit a photocopy of Standard First Aid certification if the certification is from an approved agency other than the Lifesaving Society in addition to showing the original.

Non-Canadian Certifications

Candidates must hold a certification recognized by the Ontario Health Regulations in order to lifeguard in Ontario. Apply to the Lifesaving Society for your international certification exemptions. Call 416-490-8844 for information. For a list of approved first aid providers, visit the Lifesaving Society.

Age Prerequisite

Candidates must be of the required age by the last scheduled day of the course. Proof of age will be required for all courses with an age prerequisite.


Fees include registration, examination, literature and HST for all aquatic leadership/fitness courses.
Exceptions (may have extra fees):

  • First Aid Instructor Course
  • Aquatic Fitness Conference and Instructor Certification Course
  • Aquatic Fitness Conference and Instructor Recertification Course


Find more general information on how to register, transfer or withdraw from programs.

A full refund or credit will be provided if the City cancels the program. Courses with low registration may be cancelled.

Courses offered with the Lifesaving Society

No refunds will be given if an individual registers for a program but does not have the prerequisite(s) to take the program.

50 per cent of the course fee will be refunded to participants who withdraw 10 days or less before the course start date.

Course attendance

100 per cent attendance and active participation are required for all courses and workshops. Late participants will not be admitted.

What to bring to a course

For all aquatic leadership/fitness courses, bring:

  • proof of age where required
  • proof of original certification of prerequisites

For in-water courses, bring:

  • bathing suit(s) and towel(s)
  • comfortable clothing and shoes
  • notebook/paper and pen/pencil

A whistle may be required for some programs.

Course materials and schedules will be discussed on the first day.


Candidates should bring water/drinks and lunch/dinner/snacks where appropriate.

Pre-course assignments and experience

Advanced leadership courses may require the candidate to complete a pre-course assignment or provide proof of instructional/lifeguarding experience before the course begins.

Consult the individual course descriptions to determine what is required. Where a pre-course assignment is required, registration will close two weeks in advance of the start date to allow for the completion of the assignment.

Aquatic qualifications must be recertified in order to remain current. Review the following chart for recertification timelines.

Certification Length of time from certification date before expiry Recertification Method
Pool Attendant Two years Full Course
Bronze Cross Two years Recertification Course
National Lifeguard Two years Recertification Course
National Lifeguard – Waterfront Two years Recertification Course
Swim, Lifesaving and Emergency First Aid Instructor Two years Submission of credits to the Lifesaving Society
Standard First Aid and CPR ‘C’ Three years If the previous certification method was the full course, within three years take the recertification course.

If the previous certification method was the recertification course, after three years take the full course.

Aquatic Fitness Instructor Two years Recertification Course

CAN-BIKE is the only accredited program that teaches courses on cycling and riding safety. Courses are taught exclusively by certified CAN-BIKE instructors.

Instructors are knowledgeable about the Highway Traffic Act and teach cycling skills such as anticipating traffic dynamics, recognizing road hazards and collision-avoidance techniques.

This course is open to anyone 13 years and older wishing to become a ski/snowboard instructor or race coach who is a strong intermediate skier (successfully completed Ski 6 and up) or snowboarder (successfully completed Snowboard 5 or Adult Snowboard 3 and up). This course is intended to provide the registrants with the necessary background to pass the CSIA/CASI level one exam.

Program components are:

  • Teaching methodology
  • Skiing/snowboarding improvement.
  • Practical time spent using methodology with other lesson groups

After successful completion of this course, you may qualify to work at the Earl Bales Ski and Snowboard Centre as an Assistant Instructor (based on interview).

Counsellor in Training

Counsellor in Training will introduce participants, ages 13 to 16 years, to the fundamentals of being a City of Toronto Camp Counsellor.

Participants will learn:

  • program planning
  • how to work with campers in an interactive environment
  • behaviour management techniques
  • how to lead songs, games and craft activities

To successfully complete the Counsellor in Training program, participants will be required to complete a supervised practical placement in a City of Toronto camp.

For those interested in getting involved in City of Toronto Recreation programs or special events, visit Community Recreation Volunteer.

For Certification Programs, the City of Toronto must share the personal information of each registrant, including name, telephone number and email, with the organization responsible for delivering the courses and workshops, for the purposes of enrollment and certification.

  • Aquatic leadership courses will be shared with the Lifesaving Society.
  • Aquatic fitness instructor courses will be shared with WaterART Fitness.
  • CAN-BIKE certification and instructor courses will be shared with CAN-BIKE Canada, a division of Cycling Canada Cyclisme.