The City of Toronto continues to hire for aquatics positions, including certified lifeguards and swim instructors, and is encouraging interested applicants to take aquatic leadership courses to become certified.
Despite North America-wide lifeguard shortages, the City has worked throughout the year to ensure staffing is in place for indoor and outdoor pools, and all lifeguard-supervised swimming beaches this summer.
Earlier this year, the City received a request from CUPE Local 79 to review aquatics position wages. In accordance with the collective agreement, this review, undertaken by a joint committee comprised of City and union representatives, is now complete. The review – which examined overall job requirements, including skills and other attributes – has resulted in an increase in wages for lifeguards by an average of 17 per cent. Overall, 10 aquatics positions were reviewed (this number includes four new aquatics job classifications that were created by the City). The collective agreement sets out classifications, wage grades and salaries of recreation staff, and provides the joint job evaluation program for establishing new jobs and the job maintenance request process for reviewing existing jobs at the City.
Approximately 2,000 existing staff will receive wage increases and new hires will begin at the updated wage grade as well. Affected positions include lifeguards, swim instructors, wading pool attendants, aquatic coordinators, pool in-charge, and aquatic program assistants. Staff currently employed in these roles are being notified directly of this change. For example, waterfront lifeguards and swim instructors saw an increase of 19 per cent with a new wage of $21.19, up from $17.80.
The City continues to offer weekend and week-long crash courses with additional courses offered for the remainder of the year. These year-round leadership development programs are important opportunities to gain the required knowledge, skills and certification required for these aquatics positions. The City has also hosted a number of information sessions to support fall recruitment. More information about these sessions is available on the City’s How to Get Hired in Recreation webpage.
More information about aquatic leadership certification courses is available on the City’s Aquatic Leadership webpage.
More information about available positions and upcoming information sessions is available on the City’s Recreation Jobs webpage.
As of July 25, approximately 90 per cent of City aquatics positions required for summer operations have been filled. While this number is fluid, hiring and recruitment takes place year-round and the City continues to schedule and hire staff as they become available.
Jurisdictions across North America are facing lifeguard shortages as a result of lifeguard certification programs that had to be paused due to COVID-19 restrictions.. In anticipation of this shortage, the City has been recruiting lifeguards – new applicants and returning staff – since January, and safely made facilities available for recertification.
The City’s aquatics staff perform important work every day, teaching Torontonians to swim and keeping swimmers safe at City wading pools, beaches and pools. The City extends its thanks to them as well as to its partners in Local 79.
“I want to thank City staff for their ongoing recruitment efforts and encourage anyone thinking of becoming a lifeguard or swim instructor to begin that process now for the fall. City officials have worked with Local 79, through the process laid out in the collective agreement, to update aquatics wages and this is exactly the way the system should work to ensure the City continues to attract great recreation staff.”
– Mayor John Tory
“The City is one of Canada’s largest employers. I anticipate this wage increase will help attract new top-tier talent while also motivating individuals previously employed in aquatics positions to return.”
– Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee
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