Working to prevent drowning
We are a national, volunteer organization and registered charity
composed of 10 provincial / territorial branches, tens of thousands
of individual members, and over 4,000 affiliated swimming pools,
waterfronts, schools and clubs. We are a leader and partner in the
delivery of water safety education throughout Canada and around the
world. The Society operates globally in over 25 countries. We
represent Canada internationally in the Commonwealth Royal Life
Saving Society and we are Canada's Full Member in the International
Life Saving Federation. The World Health Organization recognizes
ILS as the world authority in the global effort to prevent
drowning. The Lifesaving Society takes lead responsibility for
drowning prevention in Canada.
We have been teaching water safety and water rescue in Canada
since 1896. Established in England (1891) as The Swimmers' Life
Saving Society, we became The Royal Life Saving Society in 1904.
Today, we're known as simply the Lifesaving Society.
Teaching Canadians to save themselves and others
Most drownings occur in unsupervised settings. Which is why more
Canadians need the lifesaving skills to save themselves or others
in an aquatic emergency.
Annually, over 1,000,000 Canadians participate in Lifesaving
Society swimming, lifesaving, lifeguard, first aid and leadership
training programs. Each year, we certify thousands of instructors
who provide the leadership for those training programs. Over 30,000
Canadians earn our Bronze Medallion each year. As Canada's
lifeguarding experts, we set the standard for professional
lifeguard training and certify Canada's National Lifeguards.
The Lifesaving Society conducts research into fatal and
non-fatal drowning, aquatic injury and rescue interventions.
Ongoing research and analysis supports the Society's evidence-based
water-rescue training and Water Smart education.
Water Smart® public education
Our drowning research enables us to focus on people most at
risk - like men fishing in small boats - or on those who can make a
significant difference, such as parents of young children. We
deliver Water Smart messages through our swim program, through the
media and through various community action channels. Our Swim to
Survive® program provides the essential
minimum skills required to survive an unexpected fall into deep
Setting the standard
The Lifesaving Society establishes aquatic safety standards and
consults on aquatic safety issues for the aquatic industry,
governments and the judiciary. The Society offers a suite of
services to help aquatic facility operators maintain and improve
safe pool and waterfront operations. We perform aquatic safety
audits and serve as experts in legal cases involving aquatic
The Lifesaving Society is the Canadian governing body for
lifesaving sport - a sport recognized by the International Olympic
Committee and the Commonwealth Games Federation. The Society
organizes annual championships for youth, senior and masters
athletes and coordinates Canada's National Lifesaving Team
participation in international competition.