Lifeguard shortage won't stop Toronto's outdoor pools, beaches from opening this summer: Tory
Published Tuesday, June 14, 2022 2:01PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, June 14, 2022 2:06PM EDT
It should be “business as usual” this summer at the city’s manned beaches and 58 outdoor pools this summer despite a shortage of qualified lifeguards, says Toronto’s mayor.
“We’re working very hard right now because the opening of all of our pools generally happens at the end of June, and it will happen,” John Tory said following an unrelated event this morning in Scarborough.
Late last week, the city put out a call for qualified residents to apply for lifeguard, swim instructor, wading pool, and aquatic program assistant positions.
This summer, Toronto will once again employ 2,200 part-time recreation aquatic staff at its swimming pools and aquatic programs, wading pools, and beach waterfront operations. Young people age 14 and over are eligible to apply to for wading pool attendants and aquatic program assistants.
So far, the city has managed to retain enough lifeguards to supervise Bluffer’s, Centre Island, Cherry/Clarke, Kew/Balmy, Marie Curtis Park East, Sunnyside, and Woodbine beaches from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily until September.
Due to staffing challenges, supervision at Hanlan’s Point and Ward’s island beaches is only being offered on weekends from 10:30 to 7:30 p.m. until June 20, 2020. After that ate, these two beaches will be manned seven days a week during those same hours.
Lifeguards have been working at these nine beaches since June 4.
Swimmers should note Gibraltar Point and Rouge beaches are not supervised.
On Saturday, June 18, 10 of the city’s outdoor pools are set to open for the season on evenings and weekends. They include Alex Duff Memorial Pool (779 Crawford St.), Heron Heron Park Community Centre (292 Manse Rd.), Grandravine Community Recreation Centre (23 Grandravine Dr.), McGregor Park Community Centre (2231 Lawrence Ave. E.), Parkway Forest Community Centre (59 Forest Manor Rd.), Pine Point Outdoor Pool (15 Grierson Rd.), Sunnyside Gus Ryder Outdoor Pool (1755 Lake Shore Blvd. W.), West Mall Outdoor Pool (370 The West Mall), Monarch Park Outdoor Pool (115 Felstead Ave.), and Kiwanis Outdoor Pool (375 Cedervale Ave.)
The plan is to open Toronto’s 48 remaining outdoor pools on June 25, but again only in the evenings and on the weekend.
Regular outdoor pool season officially begins on June 30.
Visit the city’s Swim & Water Play web page for more information, including swim times.
Tory said the shortage of qualified lifeguards is widespread across North America as many certification programs were put on hold due to the pandemic. He’s urging anyone with lifeguard training who would like to work for the City of Toronto this summer to get in touch at once.
“I strongly encourage qualified residents to join the City of Toronto’s aquatics community by applying for a lifeguard position or to be a swim instructor,” he said in a June 10 release.
“These recreation jobs are not only excellent jobs for those employed, they are also key to helping all Toronto residents access our services.”
In an effort to tackle this deficit, the city started recruiting lifeguards back in January. Toronto also made its facilities available this spring for lifeguard and swim instructor certification training.
Further, Weekend and week-long crash lifeguard certification courses are being offered throughout June and July as well as throughout the remainder of the year.
All lifeguards must have a current lifeguarding certification, which needs to be renewed every two years by taking a one-day course. Those employed by the City of Toronto must also take attend mandatory paid training sessions.
Visit the city’s recreation jobs web page for more details about available positions and upcoming info sessions.