Summer weather is fast approaching. But before you dip a toe in the backyard pool, make sure it's up to code with Quebec's safety regulations.

Quebec's Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act applies to all backyard pools holding 60 centimetres or more water, whether in-ground, semi-in-ground, above-ground or demountable (inflatable or other).

Here's what you need to know:


An enclosure, i.e. a fence, must surround all inground and semi-inground pools, as well as any above-ground pools less than 1.2 metres high and demountable pools less than 1.4 m high.

The fence must be at least 1.2 m tall, with bars no more than 10 cm apart. If it's a chain-link fence, the holes can't measure more than 30 millimetres across.

Pool fence graphic

The wall of your house or garage can serve as part of the enclosure, as long as doors don't provide access to the pool. If a door is in the way, additional fencing should be installed around it.

If using a wall as part of the enclosure, windows must be more than 3 m off the ground, unless they have a limited opening of 10 cm or less.

All of the enclosure's gates must be equipped with a self-closing and self-latching security device. The same goes for platforms or patios used to access above-ground pools. 

Pool graphic

Hedges and bushes never count as an enclosure.


Any device linked to the pool's operation should be installed at least 1 m from the enclosure wall, as well as the pool wall, if applicable.

This is to prevent children from climbing the fixture to either get over the fence or into the pool.

Pool graphic

Exceptions can be made if the device is hidden to prevent access to the water -- for example, in a shed.

In addition, pipes linking the device to the pool should be flexible and installed in a way that doesn't enable climbing.

All inground and semi-inground pools must have a ladder or steps to enter or exit the water.

Ladders that access the pool must contain a safety door that closes and latches automatically. 

Pool graphic


If you want to build, install or replace a pool, a permit is required from your municipality. If you live in Montreal, click here to learn more. 

The same goes for the installation of diving boards or the construction of a structure that prevents access to the pool.


Anyone who violates Quebec's pool safety rules is subject to a $500 to $700 fine. Subsequent offences are subject to penalties of $700 to $1,000.


The Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act now applies to all pools on the territory, regardless of when they were installed. The change is a response to coroners' recommendations following several child drownings in recent years.

Pools installed before Nov. 1, 2010 were previously exempted; owners now have until Sept. 30, 2025 to make the necessary adjustments.

These are just the basics of Quebec's regulations; click here to read the bylaw in full (English), here for a visual guide (in French), and here for a list of frequently asked questions (English).