5 Facts about Ottawa’s Crossing Guards

Jan 18, 2022 | Crossing Guards, School Zone Safety

Whether you’re part of the daily school drop off and pick up, or a motorist passing through, you’ve definitely seen our friendly neighbourhood crossing guards working hard. Crossing guards are road safety superheroes. They balance rush-hour drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and school buses with confidence and authority. How well do you know what Ottawa’s Crossing Guards do? Here are five facts…

Fact #1: They make our community safer.

With eye-catching stop signs and brightly coloured, reflective vests, crossing guards are visible in all conditions. Studies have shown that despite the increased amount of foot traffic during school drop-off and pick-up times, there is no corresponding increase in pedestrian-vehicle collisions, which shows that crossing guards make a real difference. As strong leaders who keep order and enforce the rules at tricky intersections, they keep the streets safer for all.

Fact #2: They encourage walking.

When families feel that walking is safe – they walk! Knowing a crossing guard is helping guide children through difficult situations means parents feel more comfortable letting their little students make their way to school on foot, either alone, with their family, or with a group of friends.

There are so many benefits to getting our kids outside and walking. Not only is it great for their health, but it also introduces them to the transportation network at a young age. With the help of both parents and crossing guards, they learn the rules and learn how to keep themselves safe when walking, a skill that will help them grow into considerate drivers and expert pedestrians. Our RoadSMARTS 4 Kids resources page has activities that support road safety education, including safe walking behaviours.

Fact #3: They’re paid professionals.

Crossing guards are the front line when it comes to keeping our roads safe. And we invest in giving them all the tools they need to do an excellent job. Our crossing guard program provides training, supplies, and mentorships to support our staff and stand behind their efforts.

It’s a paid position, too! We hire crossing guards who are passionate about getting involved and meet our qualifications. Members of our team are valued for the experienced and qualified work they do.

Fact #4: They’re active everywhere, all the time

Crossing guards have to be friendly and responsible – and love being outside! You’ll find them in every corner of Ottawa, as they provide crossing assistance at over 260 intersections across the city. Whether it’s cold, hot, rainy, or icy, they show up with a smile.

Our crossing guard program is a partnership between the Ottawa Safety Council and the City of Ottawa to keep our roads safe for all neighbourhoods in the capital region. If you see a need for a crossing guard in your area, you can submit a request to the city – find out how on our crossing guard information page.

Fact #5: You can get involved, too!

We value our crossing guards, and we know you do too. If you’ve spotted someone in a reflective vest being extra cheerful, helpful, and kind on your way through a school zone, you can let them – and us – know! We love hearing about the difference our crossing guards are making and sharing the love with our entire community. 

And don’t forget you can nominate your favourite crossing guard for our annual Marie Armstrong Crossing Guard Award, for someone who has made a consistent and important difference to schools in your area. 

Want to get even more involved?

We’re always looking for new members for our Crossing Guard team. Find out how you can get involved in the safety of your neighbourhood on our crossing guard information page.

Earn your RoadSMARTS

Learn more road safety tips by taking the #RoadSMARTS pledge. By taking the Road SMARTS Pledge, you Support Making All Road Travel Safe, which can help improve road safety for everyone. When road behaviours change, accidents are reduced. For more information and to take the pledge for free, visit https://www.ottawasafetycouncil.ca/road-smarts.