The History of national lifeguard
Prior to 1964, lifeguard training standards were established and
delivered by employers across Canada. Similar to most other
countries, there were no recognized training standards or
certifications. The Lifesaving Society, YMCA and Canadian Forces
certified individuals through various lifesaving training programs,
but none were designed for professional lifeguards.
The National Lifeguard Service was officially launched in 1964
in response to a need identified by employers for a single
recognized lifeguard certification for those charged with the
responsibility of supervising pools and waterfronts. The Lifesaving
Society published the first Lifeguard Manual documenting
the National Lifeguard training program. Click here to see this section from the
The founding organizations - Society of Municipal Recreation
Directors of Ontario, the Lifesaving Society, the Canadian Red
Cross and the YMCA - formed a Directorate that managed National
Lifeguard out of the Lifesaving Society National office.
By 1973, National Lifeguard was in need of promotion, financing
and administrative support. The National Lifeguard became part of
the Lifesaving Society Canada with the supporting organizations
forming an Advisory Committee. Click here to
see a pamphlet promoting The National Lifeguard Service.
The National Lifeguard standard was revised and the first
Alert: aquatic supervision in action published in February
Since 1973, the Lifesaving Society has been the steward of
National Lifeguard as the professional lifeguard certification
standard in Canada. Content has been revised approximately every
five years based on the input of lifeguard employers. Revisions
have always been reviewed and supported by the National Lifeguard
Advisory Committee. The National Lifeguard training program and its
standard have been available to all employers without restriction.
Agencies and employers can train their staff to the National
Lifeguard standard using their own trainers and setting their own
The National Lifeguard award is the only lifeguard standard
recognized in the Ontario Health Regulation governing public
swimming pools. National Lifeguard is the sole industry-accepted
standard and it is the only Canadian lifeguard standard recognized
by the International Lifesaving Federation.
Today the National Lifeguard Advisory Committee includes the
Lifesaving Society, YMCA, Canadian Forces, Canadian Parks and
Recreation Association, and Physical and Health Education