Pool Enclosures Now Required in Ottawa  

by Pool Builders on 02-12-2014 in Articles

Swimming pools and hot tubs in Ottawa, Ontario, are now required to be fully enclosed to be inaccessible to children. This law, designed to protect accidental drowning of young children, was put into effect in March 2013. This law applies to any pools, ponds, or hot tubs in Ottawa that are capable of being 600 mm (24 in) deep at any point. The homeowner must apply for a permit and include 2 sets of fully dimensional plans. Recent accidental child drownings in pools, private ponds, and outdoor tubs caused lawmakers to address the enclosure requirement.


According to the law, the enclosure must be designed to reasonably deter young children from gaining access to the pool area. They must be at least 1.5 m (5 ft) high and comply with certain basic requirements as set out in the law. Vertical board construction is a popular choice. Chain link fences are allowed so long as the links are no larger than 38 mm (1.5 in). Any openings in the fence must be able to prevent a 100 mm (4 in) spherical object from getting in, thus minimizing the temptation for a child to break into the enclosure to chase after a small ball. The enclosure also must be situated 1 m (3 ft) from the nearest wet surface. It is advisable to keep all pool equipment within the enclosure to further protect the children.

Locked Entrance Gates
All swimming pools and hot tubs in Ottawa also must be protected with a locked gate. The latch must be 1.35 m (4.5 ft) from the bottom and must be located inside the door. Unless the pool or a tub is in use, the enclosure must be locked at all times. Outdoor tubs that are protected with a legally compliant safety cover are exempt from the enclosure law. Pool equipment stores carry these compliant safety covers.

Other Legal Requirements

Permits and inspections are required. The permit process is simple and the application can be found online at the City of Ottawa's website. Residents who purchase homes with swimming pools can receive a pool enclosure compliance report. All pool equipment must be kept off of any easements.

Pools and hot tubs are the unfortunate cause of several child deaths every year. These deaths are very preventable. By simply enclosing the area, kids can be kept safe and away from danger.

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