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.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 28, 2021.
The Canadian Press