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At the Y, we are proud to offer two types of certification programs! Check out the courses below that will allow you to:

  • gain the knowledge and skills to prevent, recognize and respond to aquatic emergencies.
  • gain employment at aquatic centres.

YMCA Swim Program Certification

We are a leader in swim programs! Developed by YMCA Canada in 1906, the YMCA National Aquatic program has helped — and continues to help — generations of Canadians learn how to swim in Ys from coast-to-coast. As a certified YMCA Canada Swim Instructor, you are qualified to teach swimming lessons at Y’s across the country.

Canadian Lifesaving Program

As a provincial and national affiliate to the Lifesaving Society of Canada, we are proud to offer a wide range of Lifesaving and Lifeguarding courses.


  • Aquatic Certifications
  • Bronze Star

    Bronze Star provides 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 400 m swim.

    • Recommended: 12 years & Star 4
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  • Bronze Medallion

    Bronze Medallion teaches an understanding of the lifesaving principles that make up the four components of water rescue – judgment, knowledge, skill and fitness. Rescuers learn tows, carries, and release methods in preparation for challenging rescues of increased risk. Lifesavers learn to respond to increasingly complex situations involving conscious and unconscious victims in contact and non-contact rescues. Lifesavers develop stroke efficiency and endurance with a timed swim.

    • Prerequisites: 13 years or Bronze Star
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  • Bronze Cross

    Bronze Cross is designed for lifesavers who want the challenge of more advanced training including an introduction to safe supervision in aquatic facilities. Bronze Cross teaches the difference between lifesaving and lifeguarding, the principles of emergency procedures and teamwork. Lifesavers learn the skills involved in the rescue of a victim with a spinal injury, the rescue of a pulseless victim and the rescue of a victim with deteriorating circumstances.

    Bronze Cross is the stepping stone for all of the Society’s advanced training programs in lifesaving, lifeguarding and leadership.

    • Prerequisite: Bronze Medallion
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  • National Lifeguard & Aquatic Emergency Care

    National Lifeguard training (for ages 16+) develops a sound understanding of lifeguarding principles, good judgment and a mature and responsible attitude toward the lifeguard’s role. National Lifeguard training emphasizes prevention and effective rescue response in emergencies including first aid treatment. Candidates develop teamwork, leadership and communication skills. Fitness requirements include a timed object recovery, 50 m sprint challenge, 50 m rescue drill and 400 m endurance challenge.

    The course length is 72 hours. The Canadian Lifesaving Manual, National Lifeguard Award Guide and Alert: Lifeguarding in Action are all required manuals for the course and can be purchased at the Membership Sales and Service Desk.

    • Prerequisite: 16 years & Bronze Cross
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  • YMCA Swim Instructor

    Share your love of swimming with others! Learn the skills required to become a swim instructor and play an essential role in helping others learn to swim and improve their health. The course covers instructional skills, safety supervision, drills and corrective strategies. Candidates will be trained to plan, teach and evaluate the YMCA Swim program from preschool levels to adults. Candidates should be prepared for daily assignments, teaching presentations and stroke evaluation. To become certified, candidates need to attend 100% of the course, complete a practicum, Bronze Cross and Standard First Aid within three months of attending the course.

    • Prerequisites: 16 years, Bronze Cross & Standard First Aid
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  • Distinction

    The Lifesaving Society’s Distinction Award encourages a maturity of response to demanding aquatic emergency situations and is designed to develop advanced water rescue skill and knowledge and an understanding of the principles of fitness training. Distinction challenges include implications of assuming responsibility in an emergency, how to deal with two victims at once and rescue of a non-breathing spinal-injured victim. Inherent in the name of the Award, lifesavers must perform every item with distinction.

  • First Aid
  • Standard First Aid (SFA) - includes CPR C

    This comprehensive first aid course provides CPR skills for those who need training due to work requirements or who want more knowledge to respond to emergencies at home. You will learn emergency first aid skills as well as how to respond to sudden medical emergencies, head and spinal injuries and environmental emergencies. A manual and a certificate are provided upon completion.

  • Emergency First Aid

    An 8-hour course for people who want a general knowledge of first aid principles and the emergency treatment of injuries, this course includes CPR C and AED training.  Recognized by Manitoba Workplace Health and Safety, certification is valid for two years.