National Lifeguard is the Industry Certification Standard for
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.
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
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.
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 fees.
The National Lifeguard award is the sole industry-accepted
standard and it is the only Canadian lifeguard standard recognized
by the International Life Saving Federation.
Today the National Lifeguard Advisory Committee includes the
Lifesaving Society, YMCA, Canadian Forces, Canadian Parks and
Recreation Association, and Physical and Health Education