Students learn about how to read whitewater on an intermediate moving water course with Priscilla Haskin on the Red Deer River, AB.
Location: Red Deer River, Alberta. Photo credit: Priscilla Haskin

Certification Maintenance for Paddle Canada Instructors

This document is about certification maintenance for Paddle Canada Instructors. If you are an Instructor Trainer, your certification maintenance requirements are slightly different.



Maintaining your instructor certification allows you to offer Paddle Canada sanctioned skills courses and to use the Paddle Canada name and logo, per the Paddle Canada Logo & Trademark Policy.

Annual Requirements

To remain a Paddle Canada instructor you must always maintain your annual membership in Paddle Canada.  (First time Paddle Canada Instructors have one additional requirement – see below at the bottom of this page.)

Quadrennial Renewal Requirements

You have until December 31st of the fourth year from certification to complete one or more of the professional development options below:

  • Option 1—Successfully complete a Paddle Canada Professional Development clinic in your stream, at your level,* or     

Find a Professional Development Clinic Search Page

  • Option 2—Successfully complete a higher Paddle Canada instructor course in that same stream, or

Find an Instructor Course Search Page

  • Option 3—Successfully complete a customized set of requirements set and evaluated by an appropriate instructor trainer (IT)*. The requirements must test paddling skills, teaching skills and current best practices and could include written or practical tests, video submissions and in-person evaluations. You can find a sanctioned Paddle Canada Instructor Trainer for your level anywhere in Canada to do this for you. 

Find an Instructor Trainer Search Page

Provided your annual membership is maintained, the certification period of four years is automatically renewed when one of the above professional development options is achieved. Renewing an IT certification automatically renews the related instructor certifications.

* Completing a professional development option at a level less than your highest level in a stream will renew certifications to the level of the professional development option. For your certifications above that, you still have to the end of the original 4-year certification period to maintain them.

Please note, that if you hold instructor certifications in more than one discipline (ie you are a Sea Kayak Level 1 Instructor, and a Moving Water Canoe Intermediate Instructor you ONLY need to follow the steps for one certification) -new as of 2020-

Lapsed Instructor Certification

  • Instructors who do not maintain their annual membership will automatically have their instructor certification status changed to lapsed.
  • To regain active certification, the lapsed instructor who is in their first year of default must complete the annual requirements. The lapsed instructor who has defaulted longer than one year must complete the annual requirements and pay the lapsed surcharge.

Inactive Instructor Certification

  • Instructors who do not complete a recognized professional development requirement within the four-year certification period will have their certification status changed to inactive.
  • An inactive instructor must be a current instructor member of Paddle Canada before the reactivation process is started.
  • To regain active certification, the inactive instructor must audit and be assessed on at least one full skills course taught by a qualified instructor trainer. The reactivated certification will be at a level not higher than that of the registered course.
  • An inactive instructor auditing a course must be listed on the course registration and course report as an assistant.

Retired Instructor Certification

  • After two years of holding an inactive certification, that is a total of six years since their previous certification or certification renewal, the instructor’s certification status will be changed to retired.
  • To regain active certification, the retired instructor must undertake the normal provisions of a complete instructor course or mentorship.

Maintaining an instructor’s highest certification in one discipline (canoe, river kayak, sea kayak or stand up paddleboard) automatically maintains all certifications that are prerequisites to that highest certification. For example, maintaining River 2 SUP instructor certification also maintains the Advanced Flatwater SUP instructor certification because that is a prerequisite. It does not maintain Surf 1 SUP instructor certification because Surf 1 is not a prerequisite for River 2. Nor does it maintain any Canoe or Sea Kayak certifications. Certifications that are not in the same prerequisite stream need to be maintained independently.

* First Time Instructors

When renewing your Paddle Canada Instructor membership for the first time, new instructors must complete the online “new instructor educational module.” There is no charge for this module.

The module is designed to reinforce teaching concepts and course administrative tasks, and to correct typical errors seen with new instructors. It involves reading articles and/or watching videos, and successfully completing the online test. It typically takes a couple of hours, the test can be retaken if necessary, and additional support is available. 

Instructors who were certified in any Paddle Canada discipline prior to 2017 are exempt from this requirement.

Last Updated: April 3, 2018