Update on Lifesaving Society Certifications
Certifications in Alberta
No certification extensions were issued following the announcement of province wide mandatory restrictions including the closure of recreation and fitness facilities put into effect on December 13, 2020. Now that we know more about the pandemic response and facilities are better equipped to respond, the Lifesaving Society Canada has determined that there will be no further certification extensions offered beyond December 31, 2020.
As a result, it is recommended that facilities begin planning to offer recertification courses prior to resuming operations for those employees who will require it. This is the best course of action to protect the public and support employees. While we recognize facilities are not yet permitted to resume operations, it is essential that there is planning in place for when the current public health restrictions are lifted.
Certification extensions were utilized in March 2020 as an immediate measure of support when there were many unknown factors regarding the pandemic. Public health restrictions were new, and there were many uncertainties regarding what the future would hold. Since this time, organizations have learned how to adapt their business practices and training protocols to operate within the public health guidance issued by the Government.
If employers are having difficulty scheduling recertification courses for employees, they are encouraged to contact the Lifesaving Society for further support.
Change to Northwest Territories Certification Extension
The Lifesaving Society Canada ended all certification extensions effective December 31, 2020 with the exception of the Northwest Territories. Lifesaving Certifications issued in the Northwest Territories between March 1, 2018 and November 31, 2018 (except for First Aid) will remain extended until February 28, 2021. This is due to the mandatory closure of recreation and fitness facilities in March 2020 and aquatic facilities not having received an exemption to re-open until November 2020. Facilities in the Northwest Territories should plan to have employees recertified prior to this date.
First Aid Recertification Update
There was some confusion regarding First Aid program delivery when the public health restrictions were implemented on December 13, 2020. Since this time, the Society has been in contact with Occupational Health and Safety for the Province of Alberta. They have confirmed that Workplace First Aid Courses are still permitted to be delivered as long as all public health guidance is being followed. Reference their website for current information (https://www.alberta.ca/first-aid-training.aspx). On May 14, 2020, the Lifesaving Society released a position statement for Affiliate Delivery Partners regarding First Aid program delivery as part of Alberta’s Stage 1 Relaunch. The requirements outlined in the First Aid program delivery position statement remain in place and all Lifesaving Society Affiliate Delivery Partners who provide First Aid programming are required to follow them.
The Government of Alberta has rescinded the special order that permitted training agencies (such as the Lifesaving Society) to extend First Aid certifications and to allow leniency for individuals who may be recertifying their certification when it is no longer current. It is now required that First Aid certifications be current to attend a recertification course and that First Aid must be current for employment. Individuals who do not have a current Standard First Aid will be required to take the full course.
Individuals who hold an Aquatic Emergency Care (AEC) certification, which has a 2-year currency, will be permitted to recertify their Standard First Aid or AEC certification within 3 years from the date of certification. To be clear there is no extension to the currency of the AEC certification, but individuals who hold an AEC certification will have 3 years from the date of certification to recertify, after which time they would be required to retake an original course.
For individuals who have been registered in a recertification course which was cancelled due to illness, it is expected they register in the next available recertification. If their certification expired between that registration and the next available course they will still be permitted to recertify.
Employees will need to be proactive and plan their recertifications early, as it is unknown when new public health measures may be implemented or if courses will be cancelled due to illness.
Affiliate Delivery Partners and Members are encouraged to contact the Society for support and further clarification if required.