Toronto teacher who led fatal school canoe trip testifies at negligence trial

A Toronto teacher who led a school canoe trip during which a teenage student drowned says participants were never required to go without a life jacket during a mandatory pre-excursion swimming test.

Nicholas Mills says he started taking students for canoe training and a swimming assessment at Sparrow Lake — rather than the school pool — in 2015, the third year the trip was held.

He says staff at the lake were the ones administering the test, and it was “never” required that students do it without a life jacket.

Mills, a teacher at C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute, organized and oversaw the July 2017 trip to Algonquin Provincial Park during which 15-year-old Jeremiah Perry drowned.

He has pleaded not guilty to criminal negligence causing death.

Prosecutors allege the teacher neglected safety rules and requirements related to the multi-day excursion.

Perry disappeared in the water at Big Trout Lake on July 4th and his body was found the next day.

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