Is your pool safe?

Residential pools, be they in-ground, above-ground or collapsible, represent a significant drowning hazard for very young children, especially when little ones evade adult supervision and when the pool isn’t properly secured.  “It takes only a few seconds for a child to sneak away into the back yard and get into the pool without anyone noticing. So, making your pool inaccessible prevents that child from falling in when no one is around to keep watch,” stresses the Lifesaving Society.

Again, are your pool and its surroundings truly safe? And did you know that the regulations governing pools were amended on July 1, 2021, with another change introduced in July 2022? Do take a moment to consult Québec’s summary on limiting pool access to prevent drownings, Éducaloi’s brief titled Does Your Swimming Pool Meet Safety Standards? or www.mamh.gouv.qc.ca (in French) to make sure your set-up complies with the latest regulations and keeps young bathers safe.

You need a permit BEFORE installing a spa/hot tub or a pool.

Outdoor pools are subject to the following restrictions:

  1. Location – You can’t install your pool under electrical wires or cables; with that in mind, its exterior walls or panels must be at least:
    1. 10 metres from lines running in front. (*)
    2. 3 metres from lines running on either side. (*)
    3. 3 metres from lines running behind. (*)
    4. 15 metres from natural high-water marks.
    5. 3 metres from structures or buildings other than those serving the pool itself.

      (*) For lots with vested rights, these distances can be reduced by half.

  2. Controlling access – Walls forming part of an enclosure cannot have any openings that allow someone to enter the enclosed area. Hedges and shrubs DO NOT qualify as enclosures.
    1. Both in-ground and above-ground pools must have either ladders or steps for entering and exiting the water.
    2. Subject to paragraph e. below, all pools must be surrounded by an enclosure that prevents unsupervised access to them.
    3. Enclosures must:
      1. prevent the passage of any round object 10 cm in diameter.
      2. be at least 1.2 metres high.
      3. not have any fixtures, protrusions or openings making them easier to climb.
    4. Enclosure doors or access ways must comply with the designs specified in provincial legislation; their upper extremity must also feature a passive closing and locking mechanism inside the enclosure thanks to which the door or access closes and locks automatically.
    5. Pools whose side panels rise at least 1.2 metres from the ground at every point, or collapsible pools whose side panels rise at least 1.4 metres all around do NOT need to be inside an enclosure if users access to these pools in one of the following ways:
      1. With a ladder that’s protected by a self-closing and self-locking safety gate that children can’t open.
      2. With a ladder or from a platform whose access is protected by an enclosure as described in paragraphs c. and d. above.
      3. From a terrace linked to the residence and built in such a way that its opening toward the pool is protected by an enclosure as described in paragraphs c and d above.
    6. To prevent children from climbing to access the pool, every piece of pool-operating equipment must be more than one metre away from the pool side panels or, if applicable, the pool enclosure.Pipes linking operating equipment to the pool must be flexible and must NOT allow anyone to climb the pool panels or sides or, if applicable, the enclosure.

      As an exception to paragraph f. above, equipment can be closer than one metre to the pool or to the enclosure if it’s installed:

      1. inside an enclosure whose features match those listed in paragraphs c. and d. above.
      2. under a structure blocking access from the apparatus to the pool and having the features listed in items 2 and 3 of paragraph 2 c.
      3. in a shed.
    7. All structures designed to allow or prevent access to pools must be well maintained and kept in proper working condition.