The Lifesaving Society

The Lifesaving Society is a national, not-for-profit, and registered Canadian charitable organization.  Our mission is the prevention of drowning and other water-related injuries.  We save lives through our training programs, Water Smart public education, drowning research, aquatic safety management, and lifesaving sport.

The Lifesaving Society is Canada’s authority in drowning prevention, lifesaving, and lifeguard training.


To prevent drowning and reduce water-related injury.


Canada free from drowning and water-related injury.


Guided by humanitarian principles,

  • We are the Canadian leader in the prevention of drowning and water-related injury;
  • We are collaborative, innovative, and ethical;
  • We operate with fairness, respect, trust and integrity;
  • We value diversity, flexibility, and creativity;
  • We seek inclusiveness, driven by the needs of our community;
  • We are a dynamic organization that succeeds through volunteerism, pro-active leadership, and the pursuit of excellence.

Lifesaving Society Motto

Whomsoever you see in distress, recognize in them a fellow human being.

Lifesaving Society History

The Lifesaving Society has a long and proud history of teaching lifesaving to Canadians.

We trace our roots to the late 19th century in London, England where we began as The Swimmer’s Life Saving Society. In 1894, Arthur Lewis Cochrane brought to Canada the lifesaving skills he learned in his homeland, and he passed them along to students at Upper Canada College in Toronto, Ontario.

In June 1896, eighteen of his students were the first recipients of our distinguished Bronze Medallion award, the first award created by the Society. Under the patronage of King Edward VII in 1904, we became The Royal Life Saving Society.

In the 1950s, we were the first Canadian organization to adopt mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing as the method of choice over manual methods of artificial respiration. We started our first CPR training program in the 1960s. In the 1980s, we initiated a project to design an economical CPR training mannequin now known as ACTAR 911®.

Today, the Lifesaving Society operates across Canada, with 10 member provincial/territorial branches and an Ottawa-based national office. Annually, over 1,200,000 Canadians participate in our swimming, lifesaving, lifeguard, and leadership training programs. As Canada’s lifeguarding expert, the Lifesaving Society sets the standard for aquatic safety and certifies Canada’s National Lifeguards.

Society work nationally and globally

Drowning Research

The Society conducts research into fatal and non-fatal drowning, aquatic injury, and rescue interventions.  The data collected provides an understanding of common factors such as weather, age, activity at time of incident, etc. Ongoing research and analysis support’s the Society’s evidence-based water-rescue training and Water Smart drowning prevention education.

Setting the Standard

The Society establishes aquatic safety standards and consults on aquatic safety issues for the aquatic industry, governments, and the judiciary. The Society offers a suite of services to help aquatic facility operators maintain and improve safe pool and waterfront operations.

We perform aquatic safety audits and serve as experts in legal cases involving aquatic safety.

Our National Lifeguard certification is the standard for professional lifeguards in Canada.

The Lifesaving Society globally

The Lifesaving Society is a leader and partner in the delivery of water safety education in Canada and around the world. (The Society operates globally in over 25 countries.)

The Society represents Canada in the Commonwealth Royal Life Saving Society and is Canada’s Full Member in the International Life Saving Federation. 

The World Health Organization recognizes ILS as the world authority in the global effort to prevent drowning. 

The Lifesaving Society takes lead responsibility for drowning prevention in Canada. 

Lifesaving Sport

The Lifesaving Society is the Canadian governing body for Lifesaving Sport – a sport recognized by the International Olympic Committee and the Commonwealth Games Federation.

We use Lifesaving Sport to engage and inspire youth in our drowning prevention mission.

Our Lifesaving Sport Fundamentals program offers a recreational introduction to lifesaving sport skills. Age-group, Senior, and Masters athletes compete regionally, provincially, nationally and internationally.

We offer certification programs for officials and coaches.

The Lifesaving Society Saskatchewan Branch

History of the Saskatchewan Branch

  • The Lifesaving Society - Saskatchewan Branch was originally incorporated in 1910 and then again in 1965.  It is one of 10 Branches across Canada.
  • The Branch operations were led by volunteers.
  • Prior to 1965, Lifesaving Society awards were processed at the Ontario Branch.
  • In 1965, awards were processed by the Saskatchewan Safety Council. 
  • The first copies of the Lifelines newsletter were mailed out across the province in December 1965.  
  • The first Branch President was Mr. S.B. Dundee.
  • The Branch Office has had many homes; all in Regina. They include:
    • 2205 Victoria Avenue (Saskatchewan Sport, Culture, and Recreation Admin Offices)
    • 2206 Dewdney Avenue (Strathdee Building)
    • 2224 Smith Street (purchased by the Board in 1999)

Present Day Branch Operations

  • The Branch is operated by paid staff including a Chief Executive Officer, Administration Manager, and other program and office staff.
  • Lifesaving Society volunteers are valuable resource for the Branch and are accountable to the Branch Office staff and Board.
  • In the summer season, seasonal staff are employed to carry out the Branch’s Northern Water Smart program.
  • The Branch remains an incorporated not-for-profit organization in the province of Saskatchewan and is a Provincial Recreation Association under the Saskatchewan Lotteries System.
  • Over 15,000 people are trained and certified annually in Lifesaving Society awards in Saskatchewan.
  • The Branch does direct delivery of programs such as the Northern Water Smart program, Occupational Aquatic Safety Training, Volunteer Pool Board Workshops, Leadership clinics, and public education clinics. 
  • The remainder of Lifesaving Society training is accomplished through a third-party Affiliate delivery system (example: City of Regina, City of Saskatoon, Town of Moosomin, YMCA of Saskatoon, etc.)


  • The Branch is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors which operates under the Carver Policy Governance Model.  Prior to 1996, the Board operated under a portfolio model.
  • The Board has 7 Directors including the President position.
  • A Governance Committee also exists to assist the Board in policy review, design, and monitoring.
  • The Board of Directors is responsible for the overall vision and direction of the Saskatchewan Branch and delegates authority to the Chief Executive Office to manage the day-to-day operations and work to meet the Board’s Ends (goals) for the organization.
  • The Board of Directors appoints a representative from the Board as the Member Representative (voting member) for National Society interests such as the national budget.
  • The Board of Directors also appoints a representative to serve on the National Board of Directors.
    1. Annual Lifesaving Society Saskatchewan Events

Annual General Meeting:

This is a meeting of the Board of Directors, all voting members and interested persons. The election of members to vacant Board positions is held at this time.  In addition, the Board presents the business history of the past year and the audited financial statement, which the membership votes to approve. The meeting is traditionally held in March as per our constitution.

Vice-Regal Investiture Honour and Awards Ceremony:

This is a special ceremony, which recognizes the work of individuals who have made significant volunteer contributions to the Society and its mission. It also honours individuals who have attempted a rescue (successful or unsuccessful) in an aquatic setting. The ceremony is traditionally held at Government House in Regina and is hosted by the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan.

National Drowning Prevention Week:

In Saskatchewan, National Drowning Prevention Week involves Lifesaving Society Affiliates, volunteers, and other like-minded organizations such as the Saskatchewan Provincial Parks.  Using Branch resources such as the activity tool kit, these groups provide Water Smart activities and displays at swimming pools, waterfront and non-aquatic locations.  Drowning prevention messages and education are presented and made available to the public.  In addition, Branch staff initiate and lead several public education presentations during this week, provide specific media releases to all media outlets, and coordinate provincial and mayoral proclamations for National Drowning Prevention Week.

Provincial Aquatic Conference:

The Society welcomes its members yearly to a one-to-two-day conference of professional development, aquatic manager/Affiliate meetings, networking, and celebration of the past year’s successes. The Annual General Meeting is often held in conjunction with the conference.