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Red Cross Swim and Lifeguard Programs Announcement

Jan 16, 2022

It's a New Year! Many parts of Canada have returned into some form of economic restrictions due to the pandemic, but we are looking forward to a bright, busy and successful year to come. 

At Swim Teacher Pro we are nearing completion of our Core Certification course and are actively discussing the program launch and... [looks in email inbox]... wait, what?!

Letter from David Percy, Vice President, Commercial Operations, Prevention and Safety, Canadian Red Cross.


"I am writing today to notify you that the Canadian Red Cross has made a decision to wind down its involvement in all swim and lifeguard programming in order to direct more attention to surging humanitarian demands in other areas – such as disaster and pandemic response, opioid harm reduction and caregiving for seniors. 

Specifically, Red Cross is encouraging its water safety delivery partners to transition to the swim and lifeguard training programs of the Lifesaving Society Canada through the course of this year. The exception will be in First Nations communities where Red Cross training will continue as part of our Indigenous Peoples Framework. As of 2023, that training will utilize Lifesaving Society Canada curriculum.

The Lifesaving Society is a respected, accomplished organization that has long shared our passion to reduce drowning and aquatic-related injuries. We have every confidence that the water safety training needs of Canadians will continue to be well-served in their care.  

Please know that this was not a decision taken lightly. Red Cross is enormously proud of what we – together with valued partners like you – have accomplished in water safety over the past 75 years. 

While Red Cross continues to believe strongly in the importance of water safety, we have determined that the relative humanitarian need has been surpassed by current and emerging national health crises that have generated unprecedented levels of Red Cross engagement.

COVID-19 alone has prompted more than 100 Red Cross activations in support of initiatives by the Government of Canada, provinces and territories. During the past year, Red Cross has also responded to three large-scale disasters and launched a significant initiative funded by Health Canada to reduce opioid-related deaths.

We believe this transition to Lifesaving Society is the best path forward to ensure our withdrawal from water safety does not disrupt Canadians’ access to critical training. Please know it is the intention of both organizations to make the transition of Red Cross water safety delivery partners, instructors, lifeguards and others as easy as possible.

To that end, a full range of tools together with FAQs have been prepared and will be posted on January 12 at > News > Swim Transition. We encourage you to access these tools and contact Red Cross or the Lifesaving Society directly (see contact information below) with questions or concerns.

In closing, please know that the Canadian Red Cross will continue to provide our full support to our Training Partners throughout this transition opportunity."



When we began writing the Swim Teacher Pro program, we sought to disrupt the way that learn to swim programs were taught in Canada. This announcement puts a near monopoly in the hands of the Canadian Lifesaving Society and assuming that the majority of Red Cross Swim providers transfer to Lifesaving, shapes the way that learn to swim programs are delivered across the country. 

In come Swim Teacher Pro!

As we move toward the launch of the Swim Teacher Pro program and reach out to aquatic providers across Canada, we will drip more information about the way that the program can serve to compete with others and provide a new highest standard in swimming teaching. 

Watch this blog over the coming weeks and months for information and ways to get certified and involved.

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