New Canadians

People new to Canada, especially those who have been in Canada for 5 years or less, are at a higher risk of drowning than people born here. In fact, they are 4 times more likely to be unable to swim than those born in Canada.

  • Only 41% of new Canadians have taken formal swimming lessons
  • 74% of new Canadians enjoy swimming for fun and recreation
  • 71% of new Canadians see swimming as a safe activity for themselves
  • 78% see it as a safe activity for their children

People who come to Canada from countries where swimming and swimming lessons are not a strong part of the culture are in a particularly dangerous situation. The Lifesaving Society has introduced several initiatives for new Canadians:


Learn to swim

At a minimum, make sure everyone in your family can achieve the Swim to Survive standard. Take a lifesaving course and learn how to reduce the risk of drowning, as well as what to do if something goes wrong.

Keep your children within arms' reach

Drowning is a fast and silent killer. Whenever your children are around water, keep your eyes on them and stay within arms' reach.

Protect yourself with a PFD

Always wear a lifejacket or personal flotation device (PFD) when boating or swimming if you are not a strong swimmer.

Swim with lifeguard supervision

Drownings in areas supervised by lifeguards are rare. Whenever possible, choose to swim in supervised areas.