City of Toronto hiking pay for aquatics staff amid lifeguard shortages

A lifeguard watches swimmers at the Sunnyside-Gus Ryder Outdoor Swimming Pool in Toronto on June 21, 2009.JENNIFER ROBERTS/The Globe and Mail

The City of Toronto says it is upping aquatics staff wages by an average of 17 per cent as municipalities across the country grapple with lifeguard shortages.

The pay increase comes after the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 79 requested earlier this year that the city review its aquatics staff wages.

A City of Toronto press release says 2,000 existing staff will receive a pay hike while new hires in positions including lifeguards, swim instructors and wading pool attendants will begin at a higher wage.

The release says waterfront lifeguards and swim instructors will see a 19 per cent increase with a new wage of $21.19 per hour, up from $17.80.

It says despite shortage of lifeguards, approximately 90 per cent of Toronto’s summer aquatics positions have been filled.

Toronto continues to offer weekend and week-long crash courses in aquatics leadership and officials encourage interested applicants to become certified.

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