Toronto cancels swim classes for 1,000-plus participants amid instructor shortage

The City of Toronto says it is cancelling swim classes for more than 1,000 participants due to an instructor shortage.

The City said in a news release Wednesday that it would begin cancelling 169 courses affecting approximately 1,140 participants.

There are currently 196 instructors confirmed and available to teach 1,919 courses for about 11,400 participants, the City said.

The release said those affected by the cancellations will be contacted and offered a full refund or program credit if a suitable replacement isn’t found.

Read more: Toronto looking for more people to apply as lifeguards, swim instructors

“Every effort was made to minimize cancellations and, where possible, staff are combining programs with low registration numbers and allocating staff to higher-demand programs,” the City said.

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“In addition, staff will register participants in alternate nearby programs if space becomes available. Staff often rebalance classes in this way following registration.”

The City said it is continuing to recruit instructors “as quickly as possible” amid a shortage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City has encouraged more qualified residents to apply to become lifeguards and shortages.

“Mandatory certification and recertification programs across North America were paused for swim instructors and lifeguards while COVID-19 protections were in place,” the City said.

“Facilities where training typically takes place were closed to help stop virus spread. Anticipating staffing issues, the City began recruitment efforts in January and safely made facilities available specifically for certification training.

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“The City continues to recruit and hire qualified aquatic staff at an enhanced rate to deliver its many programs.”

The statement said around 2,200 staff are required to deliver programs at beaches and pools in Toronto; 1,100 lifeguards are needed to supervise beaches and pools, in addition to staff needed to supervise wading pools.

The City said it is prioritizing staffing outdoor pools and beaches.

There are currently around 700 lifeguards ready to supervise the City’s 55 pools and up to 10 beaches, the City said.

On June 30, outdoor pools will begin full operations and wading pools will also open.

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