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Recreational Camps

Safety plan requirements

Every year, 14 days before opening or operating a recreational camp, the operator of a camp shall develop and submit a camp safety plan in writing to the medical officer of health.

The camp safety plan shall include:

  • Procedures of maintaining records regarding campers, including their name, address and emergency contact. Please include a copy of sample record forms.
  • Procedures for maintaining a record of health and safety incidents that occur in the camp including steps to prevent further incidents. All health and safety incidents that occur in the recreational camp shall be recorded in accordance with procedures in the camp safety plan.

The camp safety plan shall include, at a minimum:  

  • Communicable disease control, including actions to be taken for suspected outbreaks, animal bites, including when to notify the health unit.
  • Fire safety and 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.
  • A description of land-based and water–based activities at the camp.
  • Identification of the risks of those activities and a strategy to control and minimize those risks including supervision, if appropriate.
  • Waterfront safety, including the availability of safety equipment and communication devices and procedures.
  • A list of all camp staff members who have a current first aid certificate.
  • The minimum ratio of camp staff members to campers ensuring that the ratio is maintained at all times while the camp is in operation.
  • If the recreational camp has campers who are less than 13 years of age or campers with special needs, the operator must ensure that the campers are under continuous supervision of a staff camp member who has experience in the leadership and supervision of children.

The above items are the minimum requirements for the camp safety plan; you may add any additional items that are suitable for your camp.

If you have any questions regarding the camp safety plan please contact Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or toll-free at 1-877-721-7520 ext. 8811 to speak with a public health inspector.

Recreational camp opening checklist

The checklist below is provided as a guide to assist recreational camp operators in preparing for the seasonal opening of camps. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit must be notified 14 days prior to the seasonal opening of your camp each year. 

Every year before opening or operating a recreational camp, the operator of the camp shall develop and submit, in writing to the medical office of health or public health inspector, a camp safety plan.

Camp safety plan has been submitted to the health unit 14 days prior to the opening of camp.

Adequate medical staff must be provided onsite. Campers in the recreational camp are under the continuous supervision of at least one adult who has a current first aid certificate.

Ensure one of the following is provided by your camp:

A physician (if the physician is not onsite, the services of a physician must be able to be obtained immediately in case of a medical emergency).

A registered nurse.

A person (18 years or older) who has a current first aid certificate.

Every camp that has a waterfront being used for aquatic activities must be under the supervision of a lifeguard who is at least 16 years of age, and who holds a lifeguard certificate obtained within the previous two years.

Adequate lifeguards must be provided depending on the number of campers in the water:

  • Two lifeguards for 1-25 bathers
  • Three lifeguards for 26-100 bathers
  • If more than 100 campers are in the water, one additional lifeguard is required for each additional group of 25 or less.

A copy of all necessary lifeguard certificate(s) is/are onsite and available for inspection.

The operator must ensure that the following equipment is easily accessible and in good condition during waterfront activities.

The following equipment is onsite and in good condition:

One or more buoyant rescue aids attached to a shoulder loop with a six millimetre line at least 1.60 metres in length.

One or more reaching poles of three metres or greater in length.

One or more buoyant throwing aids attached to a six millimetre line at least eight metres in length.

A spine board.

A paddle board or boat when any part of the swimming area is more than 50 metres from shore.

First aid kit equipped with the following supplies in sufficient quantities:

    - a current copy of a standard first aid manual

    - safety pins

    - individually wrapped adhesive dressings

    - sterile gauze pads (50 x 50 x 75 mm and 100 x 100 mm)

    - individually wrapped sterile surgical pads suitable for pressure dressings

    - triangular bandages

    - rolls of splint padding

    - roll up splints

    - scissors

    - non-permeable gloves

    - resuscitation pocket mask

    - tweezers

    - instant ice packs

    - incident report forms

    - antiseptic solution

    - water-resistant, sterile bandages

    - waterproof adhesive tape

    - blanket and pillow

Dogs, cats, horses, and any other animal susceptible to rabies must have current rabies certificates, with the last rabies immunization given at least 30 days prior to entering the camp.

Rabies vaccination certificates for all animals are on site and available for inspection.

Note: All animal bites and bats and other wildlife must be reported to the health unit immediately. Visit our Animal Bites and Scratches page for more information.

Windows in sleeping areas can be opened to provide air flow.

Windows are provided with screens and screens are in good repair to prevent entry of insects and vermin.

The operator must ensure the camp buildings are kept free from pests and conditions that would habour pests.

Written documentation of pest control measures are available on site and ready for inspection.

Minimum lighting intensity for specified rooms/buildings:

Lighting is adequate.

Note: A flashlight is not considered as minimum lighting in a sleeping area. Fixed lighting is required.

Drinking water system complies with requirements of applicable legislation: Ontario Regulation 170/07 (Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change).

Water sample(s) have been submitted and results are on site and ready for inspection.

☐ Sanitation facilities are clean, sanitary, well-maintained and equipped with necessary supplies.

Food preparation areas must be in compliance with Parts III, IV and VI of the Food Premises Regulation 493/17.

☐ Certified food handler certificates are on site and available for inspection.

To ensure that your camp is in compliance, we recommend that all operators of recreational camps review Ontario Regulation 503/17 (Recreational Camps).

Should you have any questions regarding the operation of your recreational camp, call Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or toll-free at 1-877-721-7520 to speak with a public health inspector.

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If you have any questions or concerns that require a response, please contact Health Connection directly.

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