Prerequisite Policies

Some Lifesaving Society awards have prior training or age prerequisites to ensure that candidates have the necessary knowledge and ability to achieve success. Affiliates, Instructors, Examiners and Trainers are responsible for checking prerequisites. The Society will not issue awards to candidates who do not have the required prerequisites. Proof of prerequisites must be available to the Instructor, Examiner or Trainer.

Age prerequisites

Minimum age prerequisites must be attained by the last day of the course or the day of the exam. There are no exceptions. Acceptable proof of age includes: birth certificate, driver’s license, health card or passport.

Award prerequisites

Prerequisite awards must be earned prior to the start of the course to which they apply. When two or more awards are offered together (e.g., Emergency First Aid and Bronze Cross), the Society deems the prerequisite award to have been earned in the correct order. Prerequisite awards need not be current (see “Currency” below and WSIB exception for SFA recertifications).

The following are acceptable proof of award prerequisites: a printout from Find a Member; or confirmation using Find a Member Mobile (; a Lifesaving Society certification card or current temporary card (expired temporary cards – more than 90 days old – may not be used).

First aid prerequisites

For prerequisite purposes, the Lifesaving Society accepts Emergency First Aid and Standard First Aid certifications provided by training agencies approved by the Ontario Ministry of Labour or the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The only EFA and SFA certifications that may be used as prerequisites to the Society’s awards are from the approved agencies. The Society updates its list periodically to align with changes approved by the Ontario government.

When a first aid certification from an agency other than the Lifesaving Society is used as a prerequisite for a Lifesaving Society award, a photocopy of the certification card must accompany the Lifesaving Society test sheets. The Society will not issue awards if this proof of prerequisite is missing.

Affiliates, please notify candidates of this prerequisite requirement in promotional materials and at registration locations. Before you submit test sheets to the Society, please attach copies of prerequisites when necessary.


Lifesaving Society certifications are held for life but they are “current” for only 24 months from the date of certification – except for Emergency and Standard First Aid which are valid for 36 months. To maintain a valid or current certification, award holders must recertify.

Provincial regulation: Ontario regulations identify specific Lifesaving Society certifications as an employment standard and, for employment purposes, establish a limit on the time an individual can work without recertifying. Thus, when a Lifesaving Society certification is being used as a lifeguard or instructor certification under Ontario’s Public Pools Regulation, the award must be “current” – that is, the lifeguard or instructor must hold a certification that is dated “not more than two years prior to the date on which he or she is acting as a lifeguard.” The Regulation defines a 2-year (24 month) currency period for lifeguard or instructor certifications, but a 3-year (36 month) currency period for first aid certifications.

Employers may establish time limits that are shorter than the maximum allowed by regulation. For example, an employer may require the renewal of certifications annually.


Award holders are encouraged to maintain up-to-date skills and ability through recertification. Award holders may recertify Lifesaving Society awards at any time regardless of the certification date of the original award – with the exception of Standard First Aid, which is subject to the recertification policies for First Aid established by Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).

WSIB requirement regarding Standard First Aid Recertification: To attend a SFA recertification course, the date of the original SFA certification must be within 36 months. If the award holder misses the recert course by even one day, they must retake a full two-day course. No exceptions.

Standard First Aid (SFA) award holders may recertify just once on a SFA recertification course. To renew SFA subsequently, award holders must repeat the full SFA course. Thereafter, they may renew by alternating recertifications and original courses.

As per WSIB regulations, SFA award holders must recertify with the original certifying agency. Therefore, award holders of other-agency SFA certificates may NOT renew their award on a Lifesaving Society SFA recertification course. However, in the year in which they must attend a full two-day SFA course, they can take the Lifesaving Society Standard First Aid course.