The Canadian Red Cross Society, a humanitarian charitable organization that has factored prominently into swim and lifeguard programming in Canada since 1946, announced it will be ending its involvement with the programs moving forward, according to a report from Canadian outlet Northeast Now.
The organization is moving on in order to direct more attention to pressing humanitarian demands in other areas, including disaster and pandemic response, opioid harm reduction and caregiving for seniors.
Red Cross has provided swim training and lifesaving skills to more than 40 million Canadians over the last 70+ years, and drowning rates have significantly improved in the country compared to what the were back when the organization first started its swimming programming.
Canadian Red Cross CEO Conrad Sauvé said in a statement that the decision was driven by assessments conducted by the organization into what the current humanitarian needs are, along with the evolution of the marketplace and aligning with its strategic direction.
“We are enormously proud of what we have accomplished in providing water safety training and we are truly grateful to entire generations of staff and volunteers who dedicated themselves to creating a program of the highest standard,” Sauvé said.
“We continue to believe in the importance of water safety training, but no longer saw that we offered unique expertise in that area. We also believe the relative humanitarian need for water safety training has been surpassed by demands in other areas in which we are well-positioned to make a difference.”
Canadian Red Cross is now partnering with LifeSaving Society Canada (LSS) and is encouraging its members to transition over there to continue their programs.
The Canadian Red Cross is ending their involvement in all swim and lifeguard programming across Canada, as such, they have partnered with Lifesaving Society Canada to transition members to Lifesaving Society swim and lifeguard training programs. Go to https://t.co/KdFhY4ohh9
— Lifesaving Society Canada / Société de sauvetage (@RLSSCanada) January 12, 2022
“The Lifesaving Society is a respected, accomplished organization that has long shared our passion to reduce drownings and aquatic-related injuries. We have every confidence that the water safety training needs of Canadians will continue to be well-served in their care,” Sauvé said.
LSS already has over one million participants each year, and the Red Cross partnership is expected to double that number.
“Humanitarian values drive both organizations,” LSS CEO Bobby White said. “Collaboration isn’t difficult when the interest of all is to simply keep Canadians safe.”