The Paddle Canada National Canoeing Program

The National Canoe Program was launched in 1971. The latest edition, launched in 2009, saw the start of some significant changes for national instructors, one being the introduction of three distinct levels. The canoe programs have expanded into Big Canoe, Coastal Canoeing and Style from its foundation base of Lake, Moving Water, and Poling. A new Camping program will be launching in Spring 2019 to replace the existing Canoe Tripping program.


The Introduction Canoe Program is designed to introduce participants to canoeing in the various disciplines. The program emphasizes learning boat control to teach paddlers the skills and knowledge to be safe and have fun.


The Intermediate Canoe Program course is designed to introduce participants to the thrill of paddling at a higher level. Emphasis is on greater boat control, safety and fun.


The Advanced Canoe program is the highest level of certification awarded and is designed to offer candidates the opportunity to improve their skills under more challenging conditions.

Canoeing Programs

Lake Canoe (includes waterfront and canoeing basics)

Style Canoe

Moving Water Canoe

Canoe Tripping (discontinued program for 2019, replaced with new Camping program)

Canoe Poling

Big Canoe

Coastal Canoeing (under construction)

Instructor Certification Transfer

Instructors from other disciplines with current certifications can challenge any instructor level by seeing an appropriate Paddle Canada Instructor Trainer. This process may not guarantee a full transfer. The Instructor Trainer may require additional mentorship for Paddle Canada’s programs.

The process may include but is not limited to:

  • assisting on an instructor course(s) and/or
  • a private evaluation
  • a mentorship fee usually is charged by the trainer