Quebec to force all residential swimming pools to conform to safety standards

Previously, pools built before November 2010 were not subject to province's regulation. As of July 1, owners will be given two years to upgrade their pools to meet the guidelines.

Previously, pools built before November 2010 were not subject to province's regulation

Quebec is changing its rules to make pools built before 2010 subject to its safety standards. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

The Quebec Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is tightening security measures around residential pools this summer, and giving owners of older pools two years to make the necessary improvements.

Until now, pools installed before November 2010 were not subject to the Residential Swimming Pool Safety Regulation.

The ministry said in a statement that this change was being put in place in response to "a recommendation made by several coroners over the past few years in order to reduce the risk of children drowning."

The province is giving owners a grace period to upgrade their pools.

"Considering the costs associated with the installation of an enclosure, particularly for inground and semi-inground swimming pools, a two-year period is granted to the owners to bring their yard up to standard, which must be carried out no later than the 1 July, 2023."

The complete rules can be found in English here. They include:

  • All inground and semi-inground pools must be equipped with a ladder or steps.
  • All residential swimming pools must be equipped with a protective fence of at least 1.2 meters in height on all sides.
  • The enclosure must have a door that closes and locks automatically.
  • In order to prevent children from climbing to gain access to the swimming pool, every device linked to its operation must be installed more than one metre from the pool wall or, as the case may be, the enclosure.
  • A wall forming part of an enclosure must not have any opening enabling someone to enter the enclosure.
  • A hedge or bushes may not constitute an enclosure.

The government is launching a campaign to inform people of the changes in the coming months.

Rules for new pools

New pools installed after July 1 this summer will also need to conform to the stricter safety code unless the contract to build them was signed beforehand and the construction is planned by Oct. 1, 2021.

According to the Ministry's website, "this three-month period is intended to take into account installation contracts signed before the entry into force of the Regulation and for which the work will be carried out during the summer."

The stricter rules for new pools include:

  • Chain link fences which have a mesh size of more than 30 mm must be battened.
  • No structure or fixed equipment likely to be used to climb over the wall of a swimming pool or enclosure should be installed within one metre of the pool.
  • Swimming pools equipped with a diving board must be installed in accordance with the standard aimed at preventing spinal cord injuries related to diving accidents.
  • No window should be situated within one metre of a pool or an enclosure, unless it is at a minimum height of three metres or its maximum opening is 10 cm.