Well, there have been quite a few views of the original question, but it would seem that there are few to no sailors on SailNet who have taken this or other courses in Ontario!
I was hoping that at least one
would have done so...
Perhaps these next questions might be easier to answer: what is the practical difference between CYA and ISPA courses? Is there any advantage one over the other? Is there any certification difference, i.e. does one certificate have benefits or advantages over the other? My ultimate ambition would be to obtain the Yachtmaster qualification, if I can get that far!
In view of this goal, and the fact that you finish in the stream in which you start, in which training stream (CYA or ISPA) would I be better advised to start my training?
I hope that this might bring some Canadian input and advice (thinking of jackdale, and others). I guess this is somewhat like the comparison between ASA and ISPA. Not so much to determine which is better, but which would suit me best
Differences between ISPA and CYA
1) CYA has written exams for each standard. ISPA uses assessments at the end of each module.
2) ISPA has practical assessments for each standard. CYA navigation standards can be met through the exams.
3) ISPA coastal nav follows day skipper. CYA coastal nav follows intermediate.
4) ISPA has manuals for all levels, except celestial. CYA has a Basic Cruising manual; instructors and school develop their materials and/or use other manuals / texts.
5) Both offer accepted PCOCs
6) Both are accepted by charter companies. Experience is still a big factor.
7) ISPA does not have a race component in their standard.
8) Both offer powerboat instruction.
9) Both are very good standards; what matters is the quality of of instruction / instructor.
10) Both will likely get you an insurance discount on your boat.
 some more
11) Different MOB methods ISPA - heave-to, sail-to, heave-to; CYA triangle/ figure 8
12) ISPA - single-line docking CYA - two crew with breast lines.
Please feel free to contact me through a PM. Or ask away publicly.
Disclaimer - I teach both standards. I have no personal knowledge of any Ontario schools. I work primarily in Alberta and BC.