"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." -Lifesaving Society Report on New Canadians
In 2010, the Lifesaving Society commissioned an Ipsos Reid research study to gain insight into the influence ethnicity has on attitudes and behaviours around water safety. Despite plans by more than 79% of New Canadians to be in and around the water during the summer, they are 4 times more likely to be unable to swim than those born in Canada. In 2011, the Society conducted focus groups with New Canadians to gain further insight into their initial findings. The 2011 focus group results support findings from the 2010 study. In fact, focus group participants said they are drawn to the water and want to be a part of what they call the 'real Canadian' experience. 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.
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
73 % of new Canadians feel it is important to know how to swim when you live in Canada because there is so much water.