Ontario transition to the updated National Lifeguard program
The Lifesaving Society has updated the National Lifeguard program following a review to ensure its curriculum and performance standards remain current, relevant and grounded in the competencies required by lifeguards. Read about the key changes.
Canada's only nationally recognized lifeguard certification program
Lifeguarding is an exciting and rewarding job that carries great responsibility. Guards take courses and train hard for events they hope will never happen and which they work hard to prevent.
National Lifeguards guards are always in training to keep their skills, knowledge and fitness sharp. They are required to keep other important certifications such as CPR and first aid up-to-date. Some are trained in advanced treatments like using oxygen or in the use of specialized equipment like defibrillators and personal watercraft.
National Lifeguard is Canada's only nationally recognized lifeguard certification program. National Lifeguard is a legal certificate for lifeguarding throughout the country and is recognized by the province of Ontario for lifeguarding public swimming pools.
National Lifeguard certification is available in four options: Pool, Waterpark, Waterfront, and Surf. The National Lifeguard Award Guide provides complete details for National Lifeguard Instructors and candidates.
National Lifeguard is recognized as the waterfront supervisory certification for Ontario Recreational Camp Regulation 503/17.
Prerequisites: Minimum 15 years of age, Bronze Cross, and Lifesaving Society Standard First Aid (need not be current) or Standard First Aid from one of these approved agencies.
National Lifeguard Pool certification is a prerequisite for the Waterpark Option.
Instruction & certification: Current National Lifeguard Instructors teach the National Lifeguard option(s) they hold and evaluate most items, but only current National Lifeguard Examiners may certifiy candidates. Specifically:
- Current National Lifeguard Instructors who hold National Lifeguard Pool teach National Lifeguard Pool. Current National Lifeguard Examiners who hold National Lifeguard Pool certify National Lifeguard Pool candidates.
- Current National Lifeguard Instructors who hold National Lifeguard Waterfront teach National Lifeguard Waterfront. Current National Lifeguard Examiners who hold National Lifeguard Waterfront certify National Lifeguard Waterfront candidates.
- Current National Lifeguard Instructors who hold National Lifeguard Waterpark teach National Lifeguard Waterpark. Current National Lifeguard Examiners who hold National Lifeguard Waterpark certify National Lifeguard Waterfront candidates.
- Current National Lifeguard Instructors who hold National Lifeguard Surf teach National Lifeguard Surf. Current National Lifeguard Examiners who hold National Lifeguard Surf certify National Lifeguard candidates.
The Lifesaving Society deems its certifications to be "current" for 24 months from the certification date.
Candidate recognition: Certification card.
Required reference material: Alert: Lifeguarding in Action.
National Lifeguard Recertification: National Lifeguard certification is current for 2 years and is recertified by completing a National Lifeguard recertification exam. The recertification may require 6 - 8 hr. depending on the number of candidates. Check Find a Course for facilities offering National Lifeguard recertification in your area.
The National Lifeguard recertification exam is your opportunity to demonstrate your skills and recertify your award. You are responsible for reviewing the required content and skills and preparing yourself for the exam. Your exam is based on the National Lifeguard Award curriculum. The required content for this curriculum can be found in your Alert text and the Canadian Lifesaving Manual. Candidates should bring Alert, a whistle, barrier devices (gloves and pocket mask) and proof of prerequisite (previous National Lifeguard).
Fitness is a cornerstone of lifeguards' job responsibilities, enabling them to remain vigilant, attentive and alert to signs of potential trouble, and to respond safely and confidently in an emergency. Each course’s physical standards have been updated in the most recent National Lifeguard curriculum to ensure National Lifeguards have the strength and endurance required for their jobs. See National Lifeguard - Pool, National Lifeguard - Waterpark, National Lifeguard - Waterfront and/or National Lifeguard - Surf for specific changes and additions. Watch the National Lifeguard - Pool Fitness Skills video.