Can I be sued if someone is injured when swimming in my pool?

Swimming pools are a big part of our summertime fun, and they have great recreational value during the hot weather season. The sale of home swimming pools has also surged during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and is expected to continue this summer.

“The pool industry has enjoyed massive sales as many people stayed close to home and self isolated during the pandemic.”

However, as highlighted in the news about the death of man due to drowning in a backyard pool in Hamilton, swimming pools also pose considerable risk if not maintained and monitored properly. With its growing popularity and usage, it is increasingly important to pay attention to the safety and liability of swimming pools for homeowners.

Drowning in swimming pools in homes is a significant concern across Canada. Such accidents not only result in tragic loss of life or water-related personal injury, but also create legal liability for the property owner.

In Ontario, under the Occupiers’ Liability Act, 1990, the owner or occupier of a premises is legally liable for negligence causing drowning or personal injury due to swimming pools on their property. The property owner or occupier is responsible for installing and maintaining all safety features. The legislation states:

Occupier’s duty 

3 (1) An occupier of premises owes a duty to take such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that persons entering on the premises, and the property brought on the premises by those persons are reasonably safe while on the premises.

Additionally, most municipalities in Ontario have by-laws in place that mandate various safety features required for operation of swimming pools. The City of Hamilton also has rules for swimming pools. It specifically states that the pool enclosures must be in accordance with the Swimming Pool Enclosure By-law No. 16-184. It is always recommended that all provincial or municipal safety instructions are followed when using any public or private swimming pools.

If you have sustained personal injury in a swimming pool or water-related accident, the lawyers at Virk Personal Injury Law are available to explain your rights and different options to obtain compensation.