City working to mitigate effects of lifeguard and swim instructor shortage

Monday, October 3, 2022

Many cities across Ontario are dealing with lifeguard and swim instructor shortages leading to class cancellations and reduced public swim times. The City of Sault Ste. Marie is taking a proactive approach to mitigate the effects of this shortage.  
“What we’re seeing is a bit of program change,” said Brent Lamming, Director of Community Services. “During the two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was difficult for people to take swimming lessons and get certified, which has resulted in a lack of lifeguards and swim instructors. Every attempt is made to ensure we run as many of our aquatic programs as possible and we need to make sure we have the qualified staff to enable us to deliver those lessons.” 
To assist with the shortage, the City of Sault Ste. Marie has implemented several measures to maintain as many services as possible and is committed to bolstering training and recruitment efforts. Some initiatives include: 

  • Offering Bronze, Instructor and Advance lifeguard courses free of charge with no minimum enrolment  
  • Adding additional training sessions for certification  
  • Allowing qualified supervisory staff to fill in as lifeguards and work to train more lifeguards 
  • Contacting post-secondary students to certify more lifeguards 
  • Adding additional staff such as deck attendants  
  • Calling patrons to register as soon as waitlisted spots become available  
"We're here to serve the public with aquatic services and have been actively recruiting lifeguards and swim instructors in Sault Ste. Marie for the past few years. We will continue to do so to meet service demands and address program waitlists as more resources become available. We thank the community for their patience during this exceptional situation and would encourage anyone with instructor and lifeguard qualifications to apply to help us grow the availability of swim lessons,” adds Lamming. 
For more information on lifesaving courses, visit the City’s website at To apply for a lifeguard or Instructor position, visit   
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Sault Ste. Marie, ON
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