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Pool & Spa Operators

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Recreational water facility operators

Under the Recreational Water Protocol, 2019, we are required to inspect public recreational water facilities such as pools, spas, wading pools, splash pads, spray pads and water slide receiving basins. The goal of these inspections is to help prevent or reduce water-related illnesses, injuries and death associated with recreational water. We inspect new and seasonal recreational water facilities upon opening and then on a routine basis each year.

Our inspections are to ensure compliance with the Ontario Public Pools Regulation 565. This regulation sets out the legal requirements for public recreational water facilities. Operators are required to be familiar with the regulation and ensure their facilities meet the legal requirements.

The Ontario Regulation 565: Public Pools under the Health Protection and Promotion Act was amended to lower the legal age of lifeguards, assistant lifeguards, and aquatic instructors/coaches from 16 to 15 years of age.

Owners/operators of class A and B pools, waterpark pools, wave action pools and recreational camp pools can now employ certified lifeguards, assistant lifeguards, and aquatic instructors/coaches 15 years of age or older.

For more information and to assist with answering questions, the following documents have been developed by the Ministry of Health:

Summary Sheet


Residential pools rented by members of the public may be subject to the legal requirements under Ontario Regulation 319 Small Drinking Water Systems. Additional information on small drinking water systems is available on our website here. 

Pools used by the public are regulated under the Health Protection and Promotion Act R.S.O., 1990 (HPPA), Ontario Regulation 565 Public Pools (O. Reg 565) , and other applicable legislation such as local bylaws.

O. Reg 565 is in place to protect public health and reduce a swimmer’s exposure to potential dangers and risks in aquatic settings including water-borne illnesses, injuries and drownings. If pools are operated safely, water related illnesses and injury can be prevented. Owners of pools available for rent by the public are required to comply with the regulations and operating standards to protect the health and safety of swimmers. These legal requirements include residential pools rented for swimming lessons.  The Ministry of Health has developed a guidance document to assist owners with residential pool rentals.    

Under O. Reg 565, you are required to notify your local health unit of your intent to operate.

Please complete the notification form available on our website here and click on the submit button in the top right corner of the page to e-mail the form to our health connection team.  Please note the notification form can only be submitted using internet Explorer of Firefox.

Please contact our Health Connection if you require further information, are unable to submit the notification form online or would like to speak to a public health professional weekdays between 8:30a.m. and 4:30p.m. by calling 705-721-7520, or 1-877-721-7520.

Ontario Regulation 565 Public Pools under the Health Protection and Promotion Act provides an exemption for public spas (hot tubs) operated in conjunction with an individual dwelling unit or suite at a hotel for the exclusive use of its occupants provided cautionary signage is posted. This can include an in-suite hot tub or a hot tub on a private balcony/deck. Public spas such as those operated at a hotel with fewer than six dwelling units or suites for the use of its guests and their visitors are also exempt from Regulation 565 provided cautionary signs are posted.

Please note that a “hotel” is defined under the regulation as a hotel, inn, motel, resort or other building or premises operated to provide sleeping accommodation for the public.

Regulation 565 requires owners/operators of an exempt spa to post the following cautionary signage in a conspicuous location in the spa area: 

  • A caution sign indicating to use the spa at your own risk and the spa is not subject to Ontario Regulation 565 Public Pools; and
  • The public spas caution notice sign, as outlined under subsection 19.1(1) of Regulation 565, which provides further guidance on the proper use of a spa.

All owners/operators are still responsible and liable for ensuring that the exempt public spa is operated in a safe manner that protects public health for all users.

Although exempted public spas are not subject to routine inspection, public health units still have the authority to conduct complaint-based inspections of these public spas for potential health hazards.

Public health units can also confirm cautionary signage is posted for spas that are exempt from Regulation 565 when at your place of business conducting inspections of other facilities such as but not limited to: food premises, small drinking water systems and recreational water facilities that do not fall under the exemptions of Regulation 565.

For more information and to assist with answering questions, the following documents have been developed by the Ministry of Health for newly and previously exempted public spas:

Owners and operators of newly constructed or altered public recreational water facilities, or facilities that have been closed for more than four weeks, are required to provide written notification to us at least 14 days before opening the facility for public use. You must complete a notification form to schedule an inspection. Please note: When submitting the notification form online, it can only be submitted using Internet Explorer or Firefox (preferred).  Alternatively, the form can be faxed to the number listed on the bottom of the form.

You must receive written permission from one of our public health inspectors prior to opening or re-opening a public pool or spa.

Pool and spa operators are required to be trained in public pool and spa operation, maintenance, safety and emergency procedures, filtration systems and water chemistry. At times of inspection, we will ask the operators to confirm their training. Training course are currently available through:

Short-Term Residential Swimming Pool Rentals by Private Homeowners - English and French

Public pool, spa, and Class C facility - Operator's manual

Recreational Water Opening Request Form

Pool and spa maintenance records:

Our public health inspectors are available to provide information and guidance to assist you in providing the safest recreational water environment.

External links

Public Pools Regulation

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