Regulation - LGIC

Proposal for Amendments to R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 565: Public Pools

Regulation Number(s):
565
Instrument Type:
Regulation - LGIC
Bill or Act:
Health Protection and Promotion Act, R.S.O. 1990
Summary of Proposal:
R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 565: Public Pools ("Regulation") under the Health Protection and Promotion Act sets out requirements and standards for operations, maintenance, and equipment at public pools and public spas. Generally, the Regulation aims to prevent or reduce the risks of water-borne disease or injury and promote healthy recreational water use in pools and aquatic facilities.

The proposed amendments contribute to the government's commitment to reducing compliance costs while maintaining public health and safety in aquatic environments for everyone. If approved, the proposed amendments would:
1. Make an attendant optional at certain public wading pools with water depths of 15 cm or less only with prior notification to the public health unit, and the provision of signage, and a safety plan;
2. Set water chemistry levels in line with current scientific evidence and best practices on the following provisions:
a) Set the required range for total alkalinity for 60 ppm to 180 ppm;
b) Set the maximum bromine level for public pools at 8 ppm; and
c) Add a provision to allow the development of a process/ mechanism to evaluate and approve of alternative disinfectants for use including conditions, and subject to ministry approval and based on scientific evidence.

The current Regulation requires attendant supervision at all times that the public wading pool is in operation (see clause 26.3(b)). In contrast, the proposed change, if approved, would provide operators of public wading pools with water depths of 15 cm or less with the option to not to have an attendant on-site so long as the pool operator:
• Gives prior notification to the local public health unit;
• Posts signage (e.g., notifying parents or guardians that there is no attendant on site and that children must be supervised at all times); and
• Prepare a safety plan based on a site-specific risk assessment and makes it available to anyone who requests it.

Note: All public wading pools with water depths of more than 15 cm would still require an attendant. An owner would still be required to perform on-site water quality checks on all public wading pools (see subsection 7(12)).

This proposed change allows for local flexibility and options in the regulation of public wading pools, site-specific risk assessments at local settings and unique aquatic facilities, and potentially greater access to the facilities for the public's enjoyment. It would also save municipal compliance costs related to labour and staffing.

The water quality and chemistry provisions of the current Regulation were informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) - a guideline document based on latest scientific evidence and best practices that includes wording for state and local agencies to use in their efforts to reduce risks, prevent disease and injuries and promote healthy recreational water experiences.

The proposed changes to total alkalinity (see clause 7(8)(a)) and maximum bromine levels (see clause 7(8)(d)), are to align with the current advice and evidence in the most recent edition of the MAHC, which was issued after the Regulation was last amended in 2018.

The proposed provision to allow the development of a process/mechanism to evaluate and approve alternative disinfectants in public pools and spas is proposed in anticipation of newer products and technologies and based on feedback from industry experts.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
Minimal new administrative, upfront, capital or ongoing operating costs are expected to businesses as a result of this regulatory proposal.

Some cost savings are expected to be achieved for pool operators and municipal government from reduction in wages and labour costs for pool attendants.

Some seasonal youth workers hired in previous years, as wading pool attendants may have to be re-deployed to other tasks or assignments.
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
21-HLTC023
Posting Date:
October 7, 2021
Comments Due Date:
November 22, 2021
Contact Address:
Ministry of Health
Office of Chief Medical Officer of Health, Public Health
Health Protection & Surveillance Policy and Programs Branch
Environmental Health Policy and Programs
Box 12
Toronto, ON M7A 1N3
Email: EnvironmentalHealth@ontario.ca
Comment on this proposal via email