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PRO Aquatics Conference Program


Peter Katz

Peter Katz is a JUNO Award and Canadian Screen Award-nominated singer-songwriter who has spent the past 15 years touring internationally. He has been described by many of his fans and speaking clients as "a thunderbolt for the soul”.

Renowned CBC radio host Tom Power described Katz’s music as “one of the most heartfelt, beautiful, and vulnerable records of the year… an astonishing record”. To date, his music has been streamed over 6 million times and his music videos have over 25 million views on YouTube.

Katz is also one of Canada’s most in-demand speakers and facilitators, being called on to give his highly customized “keynote concerts” to hundreds of companies and organizations across various industries like Bell, Xerox, Royal Lepage, American Express, Mars, Trillium Health and the Royal Bank of Canada, to name a few. Over the last 18 months, Katz’s impressive move to virtual has seen him perform to over 75,000 people virtually around the world, including being asked to address the House of Commons of Canada.


Panel 1: Reducing Energy and Carbon Footprint 

With the government of Canada's commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 in mind, this panel will explore existing and emerging technologies that can reduce energy consumption, improve bather comfort, reduce operating costs and reduce the net carbon impacts on the environment. 

Panelists: Patrick D'Almada, Aquatic Associates Consulting Inc., Tim Hamel, Aquatics Associates Consulting Inc., Ted Watson, MJMA Architecture and Design, and Jeanne Ng, MJMA Architecture and Design, moderated by Beth Fisher

Autism & Aquatics: Promoting Accessible Water Education 

Children with Autism drown at a rate of 160 times greater than children who do not have autism. This presentation will discuss some of the reasons why children are drawn to water and the importance of engaging them and their families in aquatics programs. Learn steps and specialized strategies in teaching kids with autism, how to engage with families, and how to market your program to this underserved community. 

Presenter: Ashley Arruda, Recreation Programmer, Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville

B-Boards: Fun Fitness for Youth and Adults

B-Board is an exciting NEW fitness program that is fun, effective and versatile. A B-Board is a dual-use dryland and aquatic stand-up paddleboard that is easy to use, store, and maintain. Tamara and her colleagues have developed a great dry-land fitness program on the B-Board that incorporates balance as a key element of the routine. Come try out a B-Board on the hotel pool deck and learn how to incorporate them into your fitness routine! 

Presenter: Tamara Colaizzi, Aquatic Fitness Specialist, Blue Motion Fitness Inc 

Ontario Health Code 565-2018: The Impact on Aquatics

This session will explore interpretation challenges of the code and how to steer through the language to understand what impacts will be felt in the aquatics sectors. Scott and Tony will help attendees understand, embrace, and consider future implications of the code in an aquatics setting. 

Presenter: Scott Bowron, President, Clear Aquatics 

Understanding and Applying Anti-Oppression 

This is a two-hour workshop with limited availability and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. This is a hands-on session grounded in understanding equity in practice, engaging in conversations around common language and terms aligned with anti-oppression, anti-racism and inclusion and uncovering our own motivations to incite positive actions through each of our own avenues of access.

Presenter: Parul Pandya, Community Impact Consulting

"Speed Dating" Networking Session (Show Details)

After four years of virtual meetings, take 50 minutes out of your day to connect with your peers. In this session, led by PRO Aquatics Committee Chair Beth Fisher, dive into fun conversation starters you can use to connect with colleagues and mentors from across the province!

Roundtable Debrief Session (Show Details)

Join your fellow delegates and speakers from the conference in a roundtable debrief where you can share your reflections from the day. 

Red Cross Activity Session: Farewell to Red Cross in Aquatics (Show Details)

Out with the old and in with the new! Join us as we say farewell to special guest Buckles, grab some swag and see what is new with Red Cross.

Preventing Burnout: Decreasing Stress, Increasing Passion 

In this session, learn about how to identify and decrease stress in the workplace while reconnecting with your purpose and passion within your recreation career. This session will explore types of workplace stress, such as day-to-day, cumulative, extreme, and vicarious. Renee and Melissa will explore the causes and effects of stresses, and how realigning your career to focus on your purpose, passion, and values can help counteract stress.  

Presenters: Renee Kulinski-McCann, Aquatics Supervisor, City of BurlingtonMelissa Rydahl, Manager of Aquatics, City of Mississauga 

Post-Pandemic Aquatics: Keys to Supervision and Management 

The impact of the pandemic has resulted in significant organizational and operational challenges that continue to directly impact aquatic facilities, programs, staffing and services. In this session, Jennifer Knights of the Lifesaving Society will dive into the key components of aquatic management and supervision and provide participants with the opportunity to contribute to the conversation and leave the session with a toolkit of resources, ideas, and best practices to navigate the future of their aquatic facility.  

Presenter: Jen Knights, Executive Director of Recreation and Culture, City of Windsor

Starfish Swimming Canada: Innovations in Aquatics Instruction

Come learn about our method of instructor training and a curriculum for all ages and stages. Learn about our programs, as well as our journey into bringing our program into the Canadian market. We will explore how these new relationships were built beginning in Alberta and how it grew into successful new learn to swim opportunities for locations such as City of Medicine Hat and now City of Estevan in Saskatchewan. 

Presenter: Leslie Donavan, President and CEO Starfish Aquatics Institute

Help Reduce Harm Caused by Opioid Poisoning in your Community 

Canadian Red Cross is committed to helping communities reduce opioid-related deaths by increasing Canadians’ access to response training and naloxone. We are focused on reaching people most at risk for opioid poisoning in under-served communities and helping Canadians to better understand the risks, stigmas, and misconceptions of opioid poisoning. Delegates in this session will be provided a naloxone kit to take home to their community. 

Presenters: Cory LambCanadian Red Cross


Effective Online Training 

Over the last three years, large parts of staff training have been moved online as a way to make them more accessible and efficient. In this session, explore best practices for online training including maintaining engagement through synchronous online training, tips, tricks and tools to enhance online teaching and training, and promising practices.

Presenter: Marek HolkeLifesaving Society

The Smart Beach Project: Water Safety for the 21st Century 

Becky Smith of the Municipal Innovation Council will share the exciting new North America Smart Beach Project that is being piloted in Kincardine, Ontario. The Smart Beach Project uses artificial intelligence, rip current detection, wireless communications, remote sensing, machine learning, and the Internet of Things to identify water safety risks and educate beachgoers on sustainable beach behaviour. This presentation will engage parks and recreation professionals as it relates to water safety, public awareness and the opportunity to leverage technology for the betterment of our communities. 

Presenter:Becky Smith, Director, Municipal Innovation Council 

Aquatic Innovation: New Approaches to Old Problems 

In this session, you will explore out of the box thinking to address decades long aquatic issues. Everything from recruitment to helicopter parents, participants will discuss recruitment methods and staff training appropriate for multiple generations of staff. Kelly will discuss operational methods that may be altered to greatly improve safety and the guest experience, and innovative approaches for aquatic recreational programing. 

Presenter: Kelly Martinez, Aquatic Coordinator, City of Phoenix

Healthy Pools: Preventing Recreational Water Illnesses 

Join this high-level session to explore best practices for the prevention of recreational water illnesses (RWIs) in aquatic venues. Delegates will learn about the pathogens that cause RWIs and disinfection technologies approved to combat them. In addition, get an inside look at industry best practices and pro tips for getting the most out of your sanitizer will be covered. Finally, learn about CDC guidance for remediation of recreational water contaminated with crypto, Giardia, Legionella, and bodily fluids.

Presenter: Paul Di Salvo, Vice President, Management Training, Lifesaving Society

The Jeremiah Perry Drowning: The Story, Lessons Learned and the Implications for the Aquatics Industry 

The Jeremiah Perry drowning in Algonquin Park received a lot of attention within the sector. His untimely death served as a stark lesson for many in the camp and aquatics industries and has implications for future operations. The criminal case against the teacher involved was decided in October 2022, in a 66-page decision from the court. It has spurred many to re-evaluate standards and regulations for trips related to safety, supervision, training, policies and procedures. What can we learn from this case? The presenters will provide a summary of the case, its implications for the sector, and useful recommendations and take-aways. 

Presenters: Gary SangerVP Safety Standards, Lifesaving Society, Eric ShendelmanLifesaving Society

A Year of Training: Staff Training Modules for Aquatics Staff and Supervisors 

This session will give you the curriculum for a years’ worth of aquatic trainings. Jen Knights from the City of Windsor review those topics need to be included to meet the risk management and Lifesaving standards and creative ways to deliver trainings in person and virtually. Well-designed trainings are essential and will ensure that your staff are prepared for all scenarios, from critical incidents to public relations and instructional challenges. Trainings need to instill values of diversity, care and responsibility and are a perfect opportunity for team building and organizational engagement. Attendees will come away with a calendar of topics, timing, and ways to deliver all these subjects. 

Presenters: Jen Knights, Executive Director of Recreation and Culture, City of Windsor

Realizing Your Presentation Potential: Becoming a Strong Public Speaker 

You don’t need to be amazing to start, but you need to start to be amazing. Learn our dos and don'ts, building your brand as a speaker and much, much more! Be inspired about the benefits of becoming a dynamic speaker and how it will propel you forward as an Aquatic Professional. Leave with a clear vision of what you need to do to get started or step up your game as a presenter. 

Presenters: Joey Rusnak, Recreation Supervisor, Aquatics and Youth, City of BarrieKelly Martinez, Aquatics Coordinator, City of Phoenix 

Water Wellness: Serving Your Whole Community 

Water Wellness is the ability to participate at any level in community aquatic activities that improve physical and mental health. This session will guide aquatic managers seeking ways to provide equitable pool access and appropriate programming options. We will explore community needs, facility and staff training requirements to accommodate therapeutic aquatic group sessions and 1:1 pool time with trained providers.

Presenter: Alison Bonnyman, Canadian Aquatic Rehab


Day 1: March 30, 2023

Time Session
9:00 am - 10:00 am Registration Opens
9:00 am - 10:00 am Continental Breakfast and Mingling
9:00 am - 12:00 pm Trade Show Open to Delegates
10:00 am - 11:10 am Conference Opening and Keynote Address with Peter Katz
11:10 am - 12:00 pm Panel 1: Reducing Energy & Carbon Footprint

Patrick D'Almada, Aquatic Associates Consulting Inc., Tim Hamel, Aquatic Associates Consulting Inc., Ted Watson, MJMA Architecture and Design, and Jeanne Ng, MJMA Architecture and Design 

Moderated by Beth Fisher
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm Trade Show Luncheon
2:10 pm - 3:00 pm Concurrent Sessions
Drawn to Water: Exposing the Relationship between Drowning and Autism

Ashley Arruda, Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville
Ontario Health Code 565-2018: The Impact on Aquatics

Scott Bowron, Clear Aquatics

Help Reduce Harm Caused by Opioid Poisoning in your Community

Cory Lamb, Canadian Red Cross
Double length session:

Understanding and Applying Anti-Oppression

Parul Pandya, Community Impact Consulting
3:10 pm - 4:00 pm Concurrent Sessions
"Speed Dating" Networking Session

Facilitated by Beth Fisher
Roundtable Debriefs featuring conference speakers Red Cross Session: Farewell to Red Cross in Aquatics
4:10 pm - 5:00 pm Concurrent Sessions
Preventing Burnout: Decreasing Stress and Increasing Passion

Renee Kulinski-McCann, City of Burlington
Melissa Rydahl, City of Mississauga
Post-Pandemic Aquatics: Keys to Supervision and Management

Jen Knights, City of Windsor
Starfish Swimming Canada: Innovations in Aquatics Instruction 

Leslie Donavan, Starfish Aquatics Alliance
B-Boards: Fun Fitness for Youth and Adults 

Tamara Colaizzi, Blue Motion Fitness
Take a Deep Breath: Addressing Aquatics Air Quality

Tom Schaefer, Clear Comfort
5:00 pm - 9:00 pm Delegates go to Dinner in the Hamilton
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm Awards Cocktail Reception (by invitation only)
9:00 pm - 12:00 am 90s Themed Social: Bring your Retro Best!

Day 2: March 31, 2023

Time Session
9:00 am - 10:00 am Registration Opens
9:00 am - 10:00 am Continental Breakfast and Mingling
10:10 am - 11:00 am Concurrent Sessions
Effective Online Training

Marek Holke, Lifesaving Society
The Smart Beach Project: Water Safety for the 21st Century

Becky Smith, Municipal Innovation Council
Aquatic Innovation: New Approaches to Old Problems

Kelly Martinez, City of Phoenix
Healthy Pools: Preventing Recreational Water Illnesses

Paul Di Salvo, Lifesaving Society
11:10 am - 12:00 pm Concurrent Sessions
The Jeremiah Perry Drowning: The Story, Lessons Learned and the Implications for the Aquatics Industry

Gary Sanger, Eric Shendelman, Lifesaving Society
A Year of Training: Staff Training Modules for Aquatics Staff and Supervisors

Jen Knights, City of Windsor

Realizing Your Presentation Potential: Becoming a Strong Public Speaker

Kelly Martinez, City of Phoenix, Joey Rusnak, City of Barrie
Water Wellness: Serving your Whole Community

Alison Bonnyman, Canadian Aquatic Rehab
12:00 pm - 1:20 pm Lunch
1:20 pm - 2:10 pm Panel 2: Staffing Shortage: Strategies for Long-Term Success

Steve Benning, Town of Milton, Ashley Hutchison, City of Brampton, Stefanie Lauppe, Town of Orangeville
Moderated by Gary Sanger
2:10 pm - 3:10 pm Ducky Race
3:10 pm - 4:00 pm Fireside Chat: The Future of Aquatics
Jen Knights, Lifesaving Society, Davina Lopez, Canadian Swim School Alliance, Christina Neumann, Holland Bloorview, moderated by Jan Wilson, PRO
4:10 pm + Conference Closing

* Program subject to change.