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Health, Fitness & Aquatics

Aquatic Certifications

Our aquatic certifications provide you with the necessary training to be a lifeguard and swim instructor at any YMCA in Canada. 

The YMCA developed the first nationally recognized aquatics programs in 1931 and has continued to train leaders ever since. In parntership with the Lifesaving Society of Ontario, we're proud to offer Aquatics Certifications including Bronze levels, NLS, LSS and Swim Instructor. 

In order to ensure safety within the building, COVID-19 safety protocols will be enforced.

Course Information

Upcoming Courses:

Visit ActiveNet to view all upcoming course dates and times

Download our course descriptions brochure or read about courses below.

Bronze Levels

Some of our bronze medals courses will now be taught using blended learning. This will involve an online component, an in class component and an in pool component. Candidates will be required to complete assignments and attend online meetings with the Lifesaving Instructor before the in pool sessions begin and throughout the course. Candidates will also be required to bring a “bubble buddy’ with them for the final exam, this will be further explained when the course begins. If you have any questions please contact Marilyne Jones at

Bronze Star & Basic First Aid (with CPR-A)

Members: $75 / Public: $125 per session
Prerequisites: 11 years old by last day

Excellent preparation for success in Bronze Medallion. Participants develop problem-solving and decision-making skills individually and in partners. Candidates learn CPR and develop the lifesaving skills needed to be their own lifeguard. Includes a timed 400m swim.

Bronze Medallion & Emergency First Aid (with CPR-B) (Blended Learning Course)

Members: $140 / Public: $200 per session
Prerequisites: 13 years old by last day (proof of age required)

Teaches an understanding of the lifesaving principles embodies in water rescue: judgment, knowledge, skill and fitness. Rescuers learn tows and carries, and defense methods and releases in preparation for challenging rescues of increased risk involving conscious and unconscious victims of various types. Lifesavers develop stroke efficiency and endurance in a 500m times swim.

Bronze Cross (Blended Learning Course)

Members: $140 / Public: $175 per session
Prerequisites: 14 yrs by last day + Bronze Medallion & Emergency First Aid

Designed for lifesavers who want the challenge of more advanced training including an introduction to safe supervision in aquatic facilities. Bronze Cross is a prerequisite for all advanced training programs including National Lifeguard and Instructor certification. Includes a timed 600m swim.

YMCA Assistanct Swim Instructor

Members: $75 / Public: $100 per session
Prerequisites: 12 yrs by last day + Star 7 or Bronze Star

Assistant Instructor is the first introduction to helping a Swim Instructor during swimming lessons. This course provides hands on experience working with children, and prepares candidates for a future role in our aquatic programs. Five hours of volunteer instruction is required during the course. 

Pre-National Lifeguard (Pre-NLS)

Members: $35 / Public: $55 per session 
Prerequisites: 14 years old by last day + Bronze Cross and 100% attendance required

This course will challenge those who have taken Bronze Cross but are not old enough to take National Lifeguard. Become better prepared for success on the NL course by trying out all of the NL skills! This course is a requirement for being hired at the Y if you are too young to take NL. Candidates will receive a $20 credit note for use towards future aquatic leadership courses.

National Lifeguard (NLS) (Blended Learning Course)

Members: $200 / Public: $275 per session 15+ yrs
15 years old by last day + Bronze Cross and Standard First Aid (CPR-C)

National Lifeguard is Canada’s only nationally recognized lifeguard certification program. National Lifeguard is a legal certificate for lifeguarding throughout the country. It is the only lifeguard certificate recognized by the province of Ontario for lifeguarding public swimming pools. Check out content & requirements at

YMCA Swim Instructor

Members: $50 / Public: $100 per session
Prerequisites: 16yrs by last day + Assistant Swim Instructor (YMCA or Red Cross), Standard First Aid (CPR-C) and 100% attendance

Learn the theories and methods behind teaching swimming lessons. Refine leadership skills and learn strategies for effective supervision and instruction. To teach swimming lessons at the Y, you must take this course. YMCA Swim Instructors can teach preschool, youth and adult lessons, parented classes and Bronze Star.

Lifesaving Instructor (LSS)

Members: $180 / Public: $200 per session
Prerequisites: 16 yrs + Swim Instructor (YMCA or Red Cross)

This course prepares individuals to organize, plan, teach and evaluate lifesaving and First Aid skills and resuscitation techniques in the Society’s Lifesaving and First Aid awards. Successful candidates receive two certification cards: Lifesaving Instructor and Emergency First Aid Instructor. Current Lifesaving Instructors are certified to teach; Canadian Swim Patrol Program, Bronze Star, Bronze Medallion, Bronze Cross, Lifesaving Fitness, Distinction, Basic and Emergency First Aid, CPR.



National Lifeguard (NLS) Recretification

Members: $80 / Public: $80
Requirement: A ‘Bubble Buddy’ is required for the exam.

National Lifeguard certification is current for two years and is recertified by completing a National Lifeguard recertification exam. All skills learned on original course will be reviewed and are expected to be at standard. Be prepared to swim!

YMCA Swim Instructor

Certification expires every 2 years: get re-qualified here!

Lifesaving Instructor (LSS)

Members/Public: Pay directly to Lifesaving Society
Prerequisites: 16 yrs

Certifications expire every two years. No need to attend a clinic: send in this completed form directly to the Lifesaving Society:



Registration is required for all Aquatic Certifications. You may register at any time of the year for these courses to be put on a waiting list for the upcoming course.

Register at the YMCA Welcome Desk or by phone at 519-376-0484 ext. 0. Full payment is required at the time of registration. Financial assistance may be availible. 

Aquatic Certifications Progression Chart


What is your Refund Policy?

A service charge of $10 is applicable to every refund or change in schedule. Program fees are refundable prior to start date of class (less $10 service charge). Aquatic Certifications & First Aid course fees are refundable up to two weeks from start date. Refunds requested within the two-week period prior to the course will receive a credit on account only (less $10 service charge). Refunds will not be granted on or after start date of program except for medical reasons. All refunds for medical reasons require a doctor’s note.

If a course says ‘100% attendance required’, do you mean it?

Yes! The Lifesaving Society mandates that full attendance is required. Candidates who miss portions of the course will be unable to pass. 

Is the exam date flexible?

No. We arrange for a specially-trained Lifesaving Society Examiner to conduct our exams. This is a commitment of time that cannot be made up. Candidates who do not come to the exam will be unable to pass the course.