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Recreational Camps

Notice to Operators of Recreational Camps

Our public health inspectors conduct annual inspections of recreational camps to ensure they are in compliance with the Health Protection and Promotion Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.H.7 and other pertinent legislation.

To assist in you complying with the regulation, and to avoid delays in opening your facility, please complete the Notice of Recreational Camp Opening form and forward it to your local public health inspector at least 14 days prior to your opening date. This notification is required under Section 2 of the Recreational Camps Regulation.

Please note that the Recreational Camp Regulation under the Health Protection and Promotion Act has changed. The new Recreational Camp Regulation 503 came into effect on July 1, 2018.

Many changes have been made to the Regulation. It is your responsibility as a recreational camp owner/operator to review the regulation in full and ensure compliance. We have highlighted some of the changes below.

Recreational camps are defined as "camps that offer overnight accommodation for temporary occupancy for five or more persons who are under eighteen years of age or persons who have special needs."

Camps falling under this definition must comply with Recreational Camps, R.R.O. 1990, Regulation 503/17. Camps that do not fall under this regulation may continue to be inspected by Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) to ensure they are in compliance with other applicable legislation.

You will be required to have at least one food handler or supervisor on the premises who has completed food handler training during every hour of operation. Here is a full list of approved and provincially recognized food handler training programs.
If the recreational camp is on well water, it is the responsibility of the camp operator to provide copies of the water sample results and maintenance records to the public health inspector prior to opening. For further information about testing and the requirements for maintaining your well, please contact a Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit public health inspector at 705-721-7520 ext. 8811.

The camp operator must provide an updated written report to the public health inspector prior to opening. The camp safety plan should include procedures for:

  • maintaining records on campers, including their name, address and emergency contact information.
  • maintaining a record of health and safety incidents that occur in the camp, including steps to prevent further incidents.
  • communicable disease control, including actions to be taken for suspected outbreaks and animal bites, including when to notify the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.
  • list of camp staff members who have current first aid certification.
  • minimum ratio of camp staff to campers for a variety of age groups and ensuring that the ratio is maintained at all times while the camp is in operation.
  • fire safety and fire protection. If there have been any changes to the operation, capacity or number of buildings, the Fire Safety Plan should be updated to reflect these changes.
  • description of land-based and water-based activities and identify the associated risks, and a strategy to control and minimize those risks, including supervision if appropriate.
  • waterfront safety, including availability of safety equipment and communication devices.

The requirement to employ a waterfront director from the previous regulation has been removed and replaced by the following: "Every operator shall ensure that every waterfront area in the recreational camp that is used for aquatic activities is under the supervision of a lifeguard who holds a lifeguard certificate obtained within the previous two years."
It is the responsibility of the camp operator to ensure that no animal (e.g. cat, dog, horse, etc.) that is susceptible to rabies is brought into the camp unless the animal has been immunized against rabies at least 30 days before it was brought into the camp. Ensure copies of the rabies vaccination certificate(s) are kept on site at the camp and are available for the public health inspector prior to opening the camp.
The camp operator must notify the medical officer of health of an outbreak or suspected outbreak of any communicable disease in the recreational camp.

You will be required to post a "Certificate of Inspection" (green sign) with an inspection date that is provided to you by your public health inspector at the completion of an inspection.

If you have any questions about the regulation or its changes, feel free to contact Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or toll-free at 1-877-721-7520 ext. 8811 to speak with a public health inspector.

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