POOL CLOSED – Our pool will be closing starting this Saturday, June 15 to Monday, July 1 for yearly maintenance. Aquatic fitness classes will be at the outdoor pool. 

Lifeguard & Swim Instructor Shortage FAQs

The Strathcona Regional District (SRD) would like to share an update regarding the present lifeguard and swim instructor shortage at Strathcona Gardens Recreation Complex and answer some frequently asked questions below.

The Strathcona Regional District (SRD) would like to share an update regarding the present lifeguard and swim instructor shortage at Strathcona Gardens Recreation Complex and answer some frequently asked questions below.

 

Why do we need to have lifeguards and swim instructors at the Strathcona Gardens pool?

Under the authority of the Public Health Act, the Pool Regulation in BC requires that, when a public pool is open to the public, pool supervision is provided by staff who are properly trained in aquatic rescue. It is also part of the mandate of our recreation facility to provide programming that helps promote community safety such as teaching people how to swim and be safe in and around the water.

 

Why is there a lifeguard and swim instructor shortage in our community?

Pools across the country are facing lifeguard and swim instructor shortages along with shortages of other types of labour. During the Covid-19 pandemic, recreation facilities were unable to offer the usual number of courses that were required to certify new lifeguards and swim instructors. Many potential lifeguard and swim instructor recruits who missed this opportunity to become certified moved on to other opportunities. This situation was compounded by the loss of instructor trainers as the tail end of the baby boomer generation retired in unprecedented numbers.

 

What are you doing now to encourage people to become lifeguards?

The SRD is working hard to train and recruit new lifeguards and swim instructors as quickly as possible and has taken a number of steps to address this critical shortage including:

  • Offering courses during weekends and week-long expedited courses during Spring Break;
  • Prioritizing pool times for courses to train new lifeguards and swim instructors;
  • Subsidizing the cost of the lifeguard, swim instructor and first aid courses for all residents. The course fees cover only the cost of materials;
  • Offering free re-certification for any resident whose Bronze Medallion and Bronze Cross awards have expired. These certifications are the first steps in becoming certified as a lifeguard and swim instructor;
  • Changed the job requirements to make it easier for current employees to advance into more senior anhigher-payingng lifeguard and swim instructor jobs;
  • Introduced a new entry level position called Assistant Lifeguard/Instructor that allows us to recruit new employees as young as 15 years old. These employees aren’t yet able to perform the full duties of a regular Lifeguard/Instructor but they are gaining valuable experience assisting the Lifeguard/Instructors and will be ready to lifeguard and teach swimming lessons themselves as soon as they complete the required courses and are 16 years old;
  • Liaised with school counsellors to encourage high school students to become certified as lifeguards and swim instructors. The courses also qualify for high school credits.

 

What actions have been taken to reduce facility closures and increase operating hours?

We are focused on programs and services that train future lifeguards and swim instructors and help promote community safety.

We have been doing our best to allocate lifeguards to the most in-demand programs, including Pre-School and Younger Swimmer swim lessons as well as during our most popular lane swimming and open swim times. We have also been working with the Campbell River Killer Whales and Salmon Kings swim clubs to offer their programming safely outside of public access hours in order to have more lifeguards available during hours that the facility is open to the public. These clubs are able to provide their own safe supervision of their participants. This lets us retain Lifeguard/Instructors for the times that the facility is open to the public.

 

How many hours of training is needed to become an Assistant Lifeguard/Instructor?

Assistant Lifeguard/Instructors need to be 15 years old and have a current Bronze Cross certificate along with a Standard First Aid course that includes CPR training. These courses and their prerequisite, the Bronze Medallion certificate, can be completed in as little as 60 hours of training.

 

What is the role of an Assistant Lifeguard/Instructor?

The Assistant Lifeguard/Instructors will spend most of their time in the water assisting the Lifeguard/Instructors. They are also qualified to supervise water activities such as the slide or rope swing, making sure that pool patrons are using the equipment safely. We are hopeful that the opportunity to get this hands-on experience will inspire them to continue taking courses to become fully certified Lifeguard/Instructors.

 

What is the current wage for an Assistant Lifeguard/Instructor?

Strathcona Garden’s wage for Assistant Lifeguard/Instructors is $19.70 per hour. These are part time positions that also receive an additional 15.1% of pay in lieu of benefits and vacation. We also provide an annual swimsuit allowance of $150.

 

What kind of commitment does the job of Assistant Lifeguard/Instructor require?

Assistant Lifeguard/Instructors must be able to provide a minimum of 16 hours per month during regular operating hours covering the late afternoons and evenings as well as weekends and statutory holidays. These hours work well for students who are often busy with other commitments such as sports, cultural and volunteer activities.

 

How much more training would someone need to become a fully certified Lifeguard/Instructor?

A current Assistant Lifeguard/Instructor would need to complete two additional courses, the National Lifeguard certificate and the Swim for Life certificate to become fully certified. The additional training takes about 80 hours to complete.

 

What is the current wage for a fully certified Lifeguard/Instructor?

Strathcona Garden’s wage for Lifeguard/Instructors starts at $23.93 per hour. We have both part time and full time positions for fully certified Lifeguard/Instructors. The part time Lifeguard/Instructor positions also receive an additional 15.1% of pay in lieu of benefits and vacation and annual swimsuit allowance of $150. The full time positions participate in our benefits program which includes medical, dental, life and disability insurance benefits as well as participation in a defined benefit pension plan. A full time Lifeguard/Instructor works 40 hours per week. We are currently recruiting to fill a full time Tuesday to Saturday evening position.

 

How much does the lifeguard and swim instructor training cost?

Residents of Campbell River and Area D can become fully certified as an Assistant Lifeguard/Instructor for about $150 and as a fully certified Lifeguard/Instructor for an additional $350.

 

How is the SRD making lifeguard training more accessible?

The SRD is subsidizing the cost of training by charging only for the course materials. We are offering the courses on days and times that are accessible for high school students who are our biggest group of potential recruits. We are also collecting an interest list of adults and seniors interested in a dedicated training program that will help them build lifeguarding and swim instruction skills in a group of their peers. Email smadelung@srd.ca or call 250-830-6757 for more information.

 

When will swim lessons and public hours be increased?

We will be able to offer more lessons and longer operating hours beginning in May when we will have an increase in staffing levels as some of our employees who are  post secondary students, and on educational leaves, return home from university. The SRD and City of Campbell River are also working together to create an increase in programs and services for the summer by offsetting the peak demand swim times between the indoor and outdoor pools.

 

Where can I learn more about the Strathcona Gardens employment opportunities available?

If you want to make a positive impact in your community, enjoy being in the water and like working with people, becoming a Lifeguard/Instructor would be a good fit for you. There are unprecedented opportunities for people interested in careers in leisure and recreation.

For more information on job postings and courses please go to the following websites:

 

For further information or questions:

Please contact Laurie Gage, Senior Manager, Human Resources at (250) 830-6723.