All Quebec pool owners must follow new safety rules – if they can find the supplies

Some new rules for backyard pools are coming into effect in Quebec – but with huge demand, they may be tough to implement right away.

Last month, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing determined that all pools, regardless of when they were installed, will have follow new safety guidelines.

The regulation requires, among other things, that a pool be enclosed by a fence, and any access door must be equipped with a safety device that automatically closes and locks. Any adjacent deck must be equipped with an enclosure and door to protect access.

Until now, pools built before Nov. 1, 2010 were grandfathered in and did not have to be protected, provided they were inside a fence-in yard.

“The principle is we need to control the accessibility for the backyard pool. It doesn’t matter what kind of backyard pool you have,” said Reynald Hawkins of the Quebec Lifesaving Society.

The government announced the change following recommendations by several coroners who note that 85 per cent of drowning deaths in the province were unsupervised children and toddlers who gained access to a pool.

“If we want to see no deaths in the backyard pools, particularly with the toddlers, we should control the accessibility,” said Hawkins.

Owners of these pools will have until July 1, 2023 to comply with the bylaw – necessary, perhaps, because the demand for pools and pool supplies is through the roof.

“Right now we are completely booked for the 2021 season, we are not taking any orders anymore,” said Club Piscine owner Matthew Lemire.

With all the demand for pools, there’s a shortage of landscapers and fence parts -- and if you can find them, the cost has never been higher.

“Especially in the last two years, there’s been a big increase in metal, in glass cost too, so it’s upped the cost a lot more than it used to before,” said Anthony Piambelli of Prime Services landscaping company.

Installing a new fence will cost between $4,000 and $12,000 said Piambelli.

Many clients may not be happy to have that expense, he said, adding that he reminds clients that it’s about the safety of all users.

“It’s not about who lives at your home, it’s when you have guests over or a neighbour’s kid or whatnot come in and jump over and falls in. It takes one minute and there goes someone’s life,” he said.

Lemire agrees that safety is paramount.

“At the end of the day, we’re talking about security. If you look at the new pools built today, we are putting a big emphasis on security. It is for the better,” he said. “In the long run, it is for the better.”

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