Swimming is an excellent way to stay fit and keep healthy. Your swimming pool or hot tub can be lots of fun for you, your family and your friends. Unfortunately, swimming pools and hot tubs can lead to illness, injuries and even death when health and safety is not taken into consideration.
Make health and safety a priority by setting up and maintaining your pool or hot tub to protect swimmers from harmful bacteria and potential injuries.
Your pool or hot tub chemistry must be balanced to avoid transmission of water-borne diseases. Test the water chemistry before using the pool or hot tub to ensure the water is balanced.
Hot tubs have special considerations. It’s important to:
Residential swimming pools (such as backyard pools) that are rented to the public may not meet minimum health and safety standards and can pose serious risks to your health and safety.
Recreational water settings can be a host for bacteria, parasites, protozoa, and viruses that can cause enteric illnesses (illness in the stomach and intestines) as well as skin and ear infections. In addition to enteric illness, recreational water facilities can present a risk of drowning. Children have a higher susceptibility to swimming injuries, non-fatal and fatal drowning events in swimming pools. Other health risks associated with recreational water facilities include suction drain injuries, chemical injuries resulting in respiratory, skin, eye and ear conditions as well as injuries related to slipping and falling on wet surfaces.
Toronto Public Health conducts routine inspections of recreational water facilities to help prevent or reduce water-related illnesses, injuries and drownings. These pool inspections verify that the health and safety requirements outlined under provincial law are being met.
To help reduce the health and safety risks associated with recreational water use, only visit pools inspected by Toronto Public Health. A list of inspected recreational water facilities is available at SwimSafe.
Residential swimming pools are generally not designed and constructed for use by the public, often do not meet the operating and maintenance standards required to ensure health and safety, and may not be permitted under Ontario’s Health Protection and Promotion Act and the City of Toronto’s Zoning Bylaw.
If you allow the public to use your residential swimming pool, you may be in violation of:
Violating Ontario Regulation 565 or the Zoning Bylaw may result in enforcement including legal proceedings such as issuing an Order under the Health Protection and Protection Act and/or charges under Ontario Regulation 565 or the Zoning Bylaw. The maximum fine for failing to comply with an Order or the Regulation is $5,000 for every day the offence continues and the fine for failing to comply with the Zoning Bylaw is $25,000 plus $10,000 for every day the offence continues.
Please also read the Ontario Ministry of Health’s Short-Term Residential Swimming Pool Rentals by Private Homeowner’s guidance.