Issue: Drowning in swimming pools

In 2018, drowning was the third-leading cause of injury-related death to Canadian children aged 14 years and younger. A significant proportion of drownings involve swimming pools:

  • The majority of non-fatal drowning cases in Canada occur in swimming pools.
  • About 80 per cent of emergency department visits for drownings that occurred in swimming pools involved children aged nine and younger, according to 12 years of Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting Prevention Program data.
  • In 2020, 44 per cent of those who died from drowning in swimming pools were children between the ages of one and nine years.

Problem: Current legislative status

Pools without proper fencing are a particular hazard for children under five years of age. Unintentionally falling into a pool is a leading cause of drowning deaths in this age group. In most places in Canada, safer pool fencing is not yet required.

Researchers estimate that safer pool fencing could prevent three-quarters of all drowning incidents in pools among children. 

Solution: Safer pool fencing

Safer pool fencing consists of a minimum 1.2-metre (four-foot) high, four-sided pool fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate that regulates all access points.

Municipalities have the ability to enact safer pool fencing bylaws for homes with pools. Provincial and territorial jurisdictions can support municipal efforts by establishing province-wide safer pool fencing laws.

Government can help create safer environments within their communities by proper enforcement measures and by providing education about safer pool fencing.