Instructor Certification

Calling all whitewater Kayak instructors !

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Canoe Kayak Canada's National Whitewater Kayak Certification

"Bad instruction is our single biggest hindrance in getting new paddlers into whitewater." Ken Whiting

Hello all current and past ww kayak instructors!

Canoe Kayak Canada (CKC), the Sport Canada umbrella organization for Whitewater Ontario, will officially unveil its new national kayak certification program this spring. We wanted you to be the first to know.
Included in this brief anouncement you will find:

  1. An overview of the new CKC national certification program
  2. A synopsis of what the new certification means for existing certified instructors
  3. An overview of how the new program will be implemented
  4. Details on a Level 2 Instructor re‐cert offered on May 28‐30

CKC's new national certification program for ww kayak instructors

What's so new? Those who have been around kayak certification for some time have seen 'new' programs unveiled in the past – with very little difference from what was offered before. This is different.

For the first time ever, Ontario, Alberta, B.C., and Quebec, along with Paddle Canada and the Coaching Association of Canada, have all agreed to follow this revised training model for certifying ww kayak instructors.The new program is similar to WO's program in the past, in that it has instructor levels with similar skill requirements. It does NOT prescribe what to teach or how to teach – it is focussed on building instructor competence. What is different is this:

  • training/certification course structure (now more involved; cert fee covers three years),
  • separate River Leader and Instructor modules (River Leader is ideal for clubs and guided trips)
  • instructor support (access to learning resources, professional community and newsletter, pro deals)
  • membership resources,
  • course / re‐cert availability.

Overall, there is new interest 'from the top' (i.e. CKC), which means increased funding and more support at all levels, combined with the complete buy in from all administrative bodies. This is significant!

What does this mean for existing instructors?


Existing instructors (WO and Paddle Canada) will need to re‐certify under the new program – this is important to understand. There will be specific dates offered over the next three years to get all current and lapsed instructors in the new program, otherwise they will need to retake the full course (now 5 days for level 2!).
Active instructors and group leaders will need to be in the new program to be covered under WO's insurance.
Previously certified River Kayak Level 1 / Moving Water Instructors will be first to get in the new program this spring. Under the new program they will be certified as Leader2/Instructor2.

How the new program will be implemented:

Whitewater Ontario is implementing the new program, overseen by a committee comprised of:

  • Ryan Whetung, Director of Ottawa Kayak School and national freestyle team coach
  • Jeff Jackson, WO instructor trainer and professor at Algonquin College
  • Carole Westwood, former head of instruction for WO and instructor trainer
  • Claudia Van Wijk, owner of MKC and executive with both WO and PC
  • Paul Sevcik, Director of Equinox Adventures, long time instructor and rescue specialist
Re‐certs to upgrade to the new program are offered for existing Level 1 (May 28‐20@MKC; Sept. 24‐26 PC instructor symposium). Existing flatwater instructors will have re‐certs to upgrade in the fall (TBA). May 28‐30 MKC re‐cert for existing Level 1 (current or expired)

In an effort to get all instructors into the new program, MKC is hosting the first re‐cert at no cost beyond cert fees and accommodations. To qualify / pre‐requisites:

  1. Certified ww kayak Level 1 (WO, PC, BCU, ACA) or elite level instructor (by resume only)
  2. WO member (current – go to www.whitewaterontario.ca)
  3. Demonstration quality class III paddler with reliable roll
  4. 18+ yrs of age and planning to teach in Ontario

6pm Friday May 28, combined class and on water May 29 and 30, with skill evaluation on day 3. Full details of the program will be covered in depth. Course lead by Jeff Johnson.
Cost $120 in cert fees to CKC + ($40 camping only) or ($160 camp+meals); enquire about lodge rooms.

To register, contact WO: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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