Pool owners have responsibility for the safety of its users, as
well as anyone that may enter their property, whether invited or
otherwise, who decide to use the pool. Safety precautions must be
put in place and rules must be expressed by the owner in advance of
using the pool. If as an owner you fail to do so and injury or
death happens, you can be sued civilly, or
prosecuted criminally for not operating your pool according to the
The Life Saving Society has a website with a
checklist of guidelines for pool owners regarding the
safety of pools. This checklist should be considered every year
when your pool is opened. Here are some of the
All areas of the pool are to be fenced in. The
fencing should completely surround the pool to a minimum height of
5 feet. In the City of Toronto, the wall of the house is
no longer considered the 4th fence and an actual fence
must be placed in the yard so that children cannot access the pool
from the house when the house door is left open or unlocked. Check
that there are no holes in the fence, or gaps under it. Check for
broken fencing with exposed steel or nails that may cause injury.
Gates must be securely fasten and self-closing. Gates must be able
to be locked when the pool is not in use.
Slip resistant decks should be considered,
although they are not mandatory. You should ensure that there is
never any running on the pool deck. There should be a sign around
the pool and near the entrance area that entry is not permitted
without permission. There should be rescue equipment available, in
particular a first-aid kit and a reaching pole (shepherd hook)
close at hand. You should have life jackets available for
non-swimmers. You can also purchase devices which will set off an
alarm when the water surface is broken and should be used when the
pool is not being used.
Diving boards are not prohibited, but should
you have a diving board, you should check that it is made of
non-slip material and securely fasten to the deck. There is an
obvious hazard when diving deep, and a not so obvious, but extreme
hazard, when individuals dive long in pools that have a deep to
shallow end. Divers should be warned of this danger. If there is to
be no diving, signage should also indicate that there is NO
DIVING and depending on pool type, should even be painted
on the pool deck in shallow areas. Divers should not dive long or
deep for risk of banging their head and breaking their neck.
If you have a slide, users should never go down
head first. Only one person at a time should go down the slide.
Users should wait for the area in the pool in front of the slide to
be cleared before coming down the slide. Never jump into the pool
from the top of the slide. Above ground pool ladders should be
removable and removed when the pool is not in use.
Where there is a deep and shallow end, there
should be a line above the water marking the transition area. Water
clarity must be checked to ensure there is visibility to see the
bottom of the pool. The water should be tested frequently for
proper chemical balance and should be at the appropriate
temperature. The chemicals should labeled and secured. Any pool
chemicals should be stored in sealed containers away from any heat
and not accessible to any individuals. The filter and water outlets
should be checked regularly to ensure that their covers are secure
and working properly.
It goes without saying, but must be emphasized that an adult
must always be present supervising children while
they are using the pool. This means direct supervision to provide
immediate rescue if necessary. Also be sure that you have home
insurance that is aware of your pool and that your pool is covered
by proper insurance. Pools can provide hours of enjoyment during
the summer, and if used properly, will be a source of joy for the
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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In Irwin v. Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, 2015 ABCA 396, the Alberta Court of Appeal found that the "ABVMA" failed to afford procedural fairness to a veterinarian undergoing an incapacity assessment.
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