Become a lifeguard for free: Quebec drops training fees to tackle staff shortage
As the weather heats up, Quebec pools and beaches are dealing with another difficult year of keeping the lifeguard chair occupied.
“There’s less people available, less people interested in doing work that’s shift work, weekend work, evenings,” said Eddie Beaucage of the Pointe-Claire Aquatic Centre.
Last year, the province was short 3,000 lifeguards, meaning some beaches and pools had to limit hours of operation, according to the Lifesaving Society.
The government is now spending 4.3 million dollars to make lifeguard training free; Raynald Hawkins, executive director of the Lifesaving Society’s Quebec branch, says it’s working.
“We have 40 per cent more candidates that took the bronze medallion compared to 2022,” he said.
Many current trainees say it’s more than just a great summer job. The course provides skills that are invaluable away from the pool as well.
“You have knowledge of CPR and like treating for shock, so if someone is hyperventilating, you know how to treat them,” says Mackenzie Patrouille, a competitive swimmer who now hopes to add lifeguard to her resume.
“It’s amazing just thinking how one day you can save someone’s life’, says Danika Choptain, another lifeguard hopeful.
More information about the training can be found on the Lifesaving Society’s website.