Violating pool enclosure bylaw in Oshawa could result in fine, increase risk of drownings

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Published April 17, 2024 at 11:45 am

pool enclosure bylaw oshawa ontario
Oakville residents are being asked to provide input on the town's zoning regulations by filling out an online survey. The survey includes questions on regulations for building a new home or making renovations such as a new deck, pool, basement apartment or home extension. PEXELS PHOTO

With summer fast approaching, the City of Oshawa is reminding residents with pools, hot tubs and decorative ponds that they must have proper enclosures in place to prevent serious water-related accidents. 

In a news release, the city said its pool enclosure bylaw, which was established to prevent drownings by ensuring small children cannot accidentally fall into pools, tubs, and ponds, sets out specifics for how large and high an enclosure should be. 

According to a report by the Lifesaving Society, an average of 164 drowning deaths are reported in Ontario each year. The society also says that 100 people are hospitalized per year after experiencing near-drownings, and about 568 people visit Ontario emergency rooms following ‘non-fatal’ drowning incidents. 

While non-fatal incidents obviously do not end in death, the report notes that victims of near-drownings can experience life-long complications, including permanent disability. 

The report says that 307 hospitalizations between 2012 and 2021 occurred due to non-fatal drowning incidents, which happened most frequently in pools.

According to data from the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program (CHIRPP), 1,109 drowning cases were reported throughout Canada between April 1, 2011, and April 13, 2023. The data indicates that 56 per cent of deaths occurred in residential or public swimming pools, and close to 80 per cent of victims were infants and children under the age of nine. 

Under the city’s bylaw, all properties in Oshawa that contain a pool, hot tub or decorative pond with a depth of 30 cm (12 in) to 60 cm (24 in) must have an enclosure with a minimum height of 120 cm (48 in). 

The bylaw also states that pools, hot tubs and ponds with a depth of more than 60 cm (24 in) must obtain a Pool Enclosure Permit and comply with specific standards. 

According to the bylaw, residents who violate the bylaw could receive a fine of up to $250 for a first offence and up to $450 for a third offence if all offences occur within one calendar year. 

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