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Lifeguard shortages force Vancouver's outdoor pools to cut hours

Fewer hours to lap up some swimming at three Vancouver outdoor pools before summer ends
vancouver lifeguard on guard chair at beach stock image
The ongoing lifeguard shortage across Canada, including Metro Vancouver, is impacting outdoor pool hours at Kitsilano Pool, Second Beach Pool, and New Brighton Pool during the 2022 summer season.

The swimming season has been off to a wavy start, with the late opening of Vancouver's beloved Kitsilano Pool and lifeguards running into troubling waters at Second Beach.

Now the ongoing country-wide lifeguard shortage is hindering pool hours, including Vancouver's outdoor swimming pools. 

Starting August 6, the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation will be adjusting outdoor pool sessions for Kitsilano Pool, Second Beach Pool, and New Brighton Pool.

Kitsilano Pool will see fewer morning and evening sessions. There will be a reduction in evening sessions during the week as well as mornings and evening sessions on the weekend.

Second Beach Pool will start its first swimming session in the early afternoon with the 9:30 a.m. morning session cancelled and the first session starting at 12:15 p.m. 

New Brighton Pool, though it will retain its normal hours, may have a smaller capacity allotted for the later evening swims, depending on staffing.

Just over 150 lifeguards were hired ahead of the season, but the total number of lifeguards is down by 30 per cent compared to pre-COVID levels. The shortages may also have been partially caused by reduced or paused lifeguard certification programs during the pandemic, which has caused a two-year delay between potential new hires and current staff of lifeguards. 

Recreation Services continues to recruit lifeguards, and candidates are encouraged to apply online.

Lifeguards are still being recruited. The outdoor lifeguard position has a starting wage of $30.81 per hour with an additional 12 per cent in lieu of benefits, totalling $34.51 per hour. The City of Toronto recently raised its base lifeguarding wage from $17.80 to $21.19 per hour.

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