Toronto cancels dozens of city-run swimming courses due to lack of swimming instructors and lifeguards.
The city says that from today, 169 courses will be canceled because swimming instructors could not be confirmed. The move will affect about 1,140 participants.
“Registrants will be contacted individually and offered either a full refund or a program credit if an appropriate replacement program does not exist,” the city said in a statement.
According to the city, staff shortages are caused by certification delays affecting lifeguards and swimming instructors throughout North America. Mandatory certification and recertification programs were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city said it has been working since January to hire staff at “an improved rate” and to facilitate secure certification to address the backlog, and that efforts are expected to continue into the summer to train more staff.
But while 196 instructors are employed to teach 1,919 courses, however, there are still some gaps.
“Every effort was made to minimize cancellations and, where possible, staff combine programs with low registration numbers and allocate staff to programs with higher demand,” the city said.
“In addition, staff will register participants in alternative nearby programs if space becomes available. The staff often balances the classes in this way after registration. “
It takes over 100 hours of training to become a lifeguard and an additional 40 hours of training to become a swimming instructor.
Earlier this month, Mayor John Tory issued a call urging qualified residents to apply to become lifeguards or swimming instructors to help narrow the gap.
The city says it currently has 700 lifeguards, enough for that monitor all 55 of its swimming pools and up to 10 of its beaches. A full schedule of operations at Toronto’s public outdoor pools is set to begin on June 30.