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Protecting Our Children Through Water Safety

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Protecting Our Children Through Water Safety

McGuinty Government Expands Innovative Swim to Survive Program

Ministry of Education

Ontario is providing funding to help more than 80,000 seven- and eight-year-old children across the province receive free basic water safety and survival skills training.

The province is supporting the expansion of the Lifesaving Society's successful Swim to Survive program. This free program teaches children how to survive an unexpected fall into deep water. It also teaches children how to roll into deep water, tread water for one minute and swim 50 metres. 

The expansion of this program will help protect more of our children by giving them the critical skills they need to survive a life-threatening situation.

Quick Facts

  • The province is investing $2 million to support the expansion of the Swim to Survive program.
  • The Lifesaving Society estimates about half of Canadian children never take traditional swimming lessons, even though swimming is the second most popular activity (after bicycling) in Canada among school-age children between 5 and 12 years of age.
  • The program is especially valuable for new Canadians, as a Lifesaving Society study shows that new Canadians are four times more likely to be unable to swim than those born in Canada.
  • Drowning is the second leading cause of preventable death for children under 10 years of age.

Additional Resources


“Helping children learn essential water survival skills ensures that children know how to stay safe while leading healthy and active lives. Learning about water safety is an important life skill for children.”

Leona Dombrowksy

Minister of Education

“Most Ontarians who participate in aquatic activities never take swimming lessons or lifesaving training. The Lifesaving Society wants to ensure that children who participate in our Swim to Survive Program will have the essential skills they need to survive an unexpected fall into deep water.”

Barbara Byers

Public Education Director, the Lifesaving Society

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