Pool & Spa Inspection and Disclosure System

Public pools and spas (hot tubs) are regulated under the Health Protection and Promotion Act in the province of Ontario, and are inspected by Public Health Inspectors as mandated by the Ontario Recreational Water Protocol.

Inspections for Recreational Water Facilities

All recreational water facilities in the City of Toronto are regularly inspected between two and four times per year, depending on the facility's operating period. Facilities that are operated year-round receive four inspections, while seasonal facilities receive two inspections.

Additional inspections may be made for the following reasons:

  • An inspection is required before reopening a facility that has been altered, repaired or closed for more than four consecutive weeks
  • Re-inspections are required to address non-compliance where crucial or significant infractions have been noted
  • Complaint inspections are required in response to concerns raised by facility patrons, or outside agencies
  • Inspections can be made at the request of an operator/owner for a variety of reasons

The focus of these inspections may focus on specific issues or address the whole facility.

Inspection Findings

The failure of a facility operator to meet the minimum requirements or standards set out in legislation is referred to as an infraction.

Toronto Public Health has grouped infractions into three simplified classifications for reporting under the Pool and Spa Inspections Disclosure Program: Minor, Serious, and Critical.

These infraction classifications include all of the requirements under the Public Pools Regulation (565/90, as amended), Public Spas Regulation (428/05, as amended) and help operators to understand the seriousness of the infractions.

Inspection result Examples

Minor infractions:

  • Present minimal or no health or safety risk
  • Must be corrected by the next mandated inspection
  • Improperly maintained record book
  • Inappropriate font size on signs
  • Damaged signs
  • Surfaces or equipment needing minor cleaning or repair
Conditional Pass

Serious infraction:

  • May potentially present a health or safety hazard
  • Presents a greater hazard the longer the issue remains unresolved
  • Must be corrected within 24-48 hours or legal action may be taken
  • Lack adequate supply of disinfecting chemicals on hand
  • Surfaces or equipment require major cleaning or repair
  • Lack of water at suitable temperature where showers are provided
  • Lack of equipment (that is not crucial to safe operation) such as a thermometer, skimmer weirs, or flow meter
  • Demarcation lines/signage missing
  • Improper cleaning and sanitizing of equipment and surfaces
  • Lack of written procedures for cleaning and sanitizing of equipment and surfaces

Critical infractions:

  • Present an imminent risk of injury and/or fatality, or spread of disease to facility users
  • Must be corrected immediately, while the inspector is present
  • Cloudy water – cannot see black disk or other markings used to monitor clarity
  • No sanitizer detected in pool and none in the facility
  • Sewage back-up or an incident in which a facility user fouls the water or deck area
  • Improper, damaged, loose, or missing outlet covers
  • Lack of safe, potable water
  • Inoperable filtration or recirculation system
  • Missing/damaged lifesaving equipment
  • Missing/damaged safety and personal protective equipment or lack of training where chlorine gas is used
  • Lack of sufficient number of lifeguards or lack of proof of lifeguard qualifications
  • Inoperable or unavailable emergency phone
  • Inadequate light levels

Critical Infractions

To reduce the risk of critical infractions and to eliminate associated health or safety hazards, the inspector may orally order the operator or owner to take immediate action. An order may include:

  • Instructing the facility users to leave the facility
  • Closing the facility for the length of time specified in the order
  • Any other action that will reduce or eliminate any hazard and the exposure of facility users to that hazard

Operators are expected to have knowledge and proper training in the operation of the facility, and so should never allow critical hazards to develop. Critical hazards may lead to enforcement action, whether or not the operator takes immediate action to remedy the hazard or remove users from the facility. In the event an order is issued, either orally or in writing, and the receiver of that order does not immediately comply, enforcement action is likely to be undertaken by the inspector.