Pools, Spas and Splash Pads 

Regulated recreational water facilities are facilities that are open to the public for leisure activities and include public pools, spas, splash pads and wading pools. 

The Safe Water program aims to prevent or reduce the burden of water-borne illness and injury related to the use of public pools, spas and other water facilities such as wading pools and splash pads. These types of facilities are regularly inspected to ensure compliance with relevant regulations or guidelines. 

Public pools and spas are inspected by Public Health Inspectors:

  • Facilities with spas and pools that are open year-round are inspected every 3 months. 
  • Facilities only open for the portion of the year are inspected twice per year. 
  • Facilities open for a short period (less than four weeks) are inspected once per year. 

All public pools and spas must pass an inspection before opening following construction, remodelling, or closures lasting longer than four weeks.

Public Health Inspectors may conduct additional inspections outside of routine inspections for a variety of reasons, including:

  • follow ups on issues identified during a routine inspection 
  • investigating complaints and/or allegations of illness, injury or death
  • collecting additional water samples 

A public health inspector has the authority to immediately close a public pool or spa if any of the following conditions are identified: 

  • The pool or spa is not made inaccessible when not in operation.
  • Poor water clarity or difficulty seeing the black disc (only in pools).
  • Water contamination, such as feces, vomit, or blood.
  • If the filtration or circulation system is broken or not working correctly. 
  • Drain covers and fittings are broken, missing, or otherwise damaged. 
  • Inadequate safety equipment, or it is broken or requires repairs. 
  • An inadequate amount of disinfectant or too much could harm swimmers. 
  • No qualified lifeguards are present (where applicable). 
  • The emergency stop button does not shut off all pumps (spa only). 
  • The vacuum release mechanism is not working (spa only).

Ontario legislation:

O. Reg. 565 - Public Pools under the Health Protection and Promotion Act details requirements for Class A and B public pools, spas, wading pools, spray and splash pads.  This regulation was updated on July 1, 2018 and contains many new requirements. Operators should review the complete regulation, which can be found here: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/900565

Operator training:

Public pool and spa operators require training under the updated regulation.  Examples of training course options can be found here:

If you have any questions regarding pools, hot tubs and spas, contact your local health unit to speak to a Public Health Inspector.