Pool Enclosures (pool, hot tub, pond)

The Pool Enclosure By-law No. 2013-39, requires every owner of a privately owned outdoor pool to erect and maintain an enclosure around their pool to make the pool inaccessible to small children. If you wish to install a pool and already have an existing fence around your yard, you still have to apply for a permit to ensure that the enclosure meets the requirements.

Before you begin

The By-law applies to any privately owned outdoor pool of water – for swimming, bathing, wading or reflecting – capable of retaining a water depth equal to or greater than 600 mm (24 in) at any point. This includes ponds, blow up pools, self inflating pools, and hot tubs.

Pool Enclosure Guide [ PDF 751 KB ]

All detached self-supported decks facilitating access to a pool that are greater than 10 square meters (108 square feet) require a separate building permit.

The installation of any pool and supporting apron should not change the drainage patterns within 4 feet of any property line. For pools or supporting aprons located within 4 feet of a property line, a grading plan to the satisfaction of the Infrastructure Approvals Division, is to be submitted with the Pool Enclosure application submission package.

Development Information Officers

In order to provide effective service to clients, the Development Information service is changing, as of August 1, 2023, in-person service will be available by appointment only.  If you require the services of a Development Information Officer, please call 613-580-2424 ext.23434 or email dioinquiry@ottawa.ca, include the subject address, proposed use, and other pertinent information relevant to the inquiry.  Upon receipt of the inquiry, a phone call or an email response will be provided within 2 to 3 business days, in the event more information is required there will be options to allow for further discussion.

Cost and Timeline

Approximate Cost

Refer to Applicable Fees

Note: Effective August 1, 2017, payments can no longer be made in cash for any services related to Building Code Services. Accepted methods of payment will be debit card, cheque, etransfer, bank draft and money order made payable to the City of Ottawa.

Approximate Timeline

Based on City Council approved enhanced service level:

  • First review - 5 business days

Submission Requirements

  • Pool Enclosure Permit Application
  • Applicable Fees
  • Two (2) sets of fully-dimensional plans, with supporting documentation:
    • identifying and describing in detail the work to be covered by the permit;
    • describing the property on which the pool is to be constructed;
    • showing the location of the pool, all accessory equipment and proposed landscape features in relation to the enclosure, including but not limited to property lines, buildings and structures (including decks, sheds, and electrical vaults), rights-of-way, easements, septic beds and tanks, catch basins, wells, swales and ,retaining walls, and; distance to overhead electrical conductors;
    • describing complete details of the proposed enclosure, including location and the construction specifications of the proposed fence and gate or gate(s);
    • describing complete details of any existing fence or building proposed to be part of the enclosure, including details of the fence construction type, location and type of gates, doors and windows;
    • The manufacturer's specifications for a "safety cover" for a hot tub, if applicable.;

Although a survey plan is not a minimum submission requirement, it is highly recommended. Incomplete applications or drawings will not be processed.

Enclosure requirements

Your pool enclosure should be designed and installed to reasonably deter young children from gaining access to the fenced in area.

Every enclosure must be at least 1.5 metres (5 ft) in height and comply with the minimum construction specifications detailed in the By-law which include:

  • Chain link construction with links no greater than 38 mm (1.5 in)
  • Vertical board construction
  • New specifications for other fence materials that have become more popular such as wrought iron, aluminum or vinyl construction
  • A fence, wall or other structure that provides an equivalent enclosure as detailed in the By-law.
  • All openings through or under the fence must be of a size to prevent the passage of a 100 mm (4 in) spherical object. Construction details of the fence must be provided as part of your submission.
  • An enclosure cannot be located less than 1 m (3 ft) from the nearest wetted surface of the pool.

Locked Gates

All gates in a pool enclosure must be self-closing and equipped with a self- latching device and a lock located inside the enclosed area at least 1.35 metres (4 ft 6 in) above the bottom of the enclosure.

Every gate in the enclosure must be closed and locked at all times, except when the pool area is in use. If the pool enclosure gate adjoins a space accessible to the public, such as a park, the gate must be kept closed and locked except when being used for access or egress. If a double gate forms part of the enclosure, one gate must be affixed to the ground or pinned so as to remain closed, while the other gate must be self-closing, self-latching and closed and locked when not in use.

Pool enclosures that were installed with a permit under previous by-law continue to be considered compliant (except for the new requirement to lock gates at all times which necessitates owners to upgrade the locking mechanism or simply to buy a padlock and lock the gate). However, if the enclosure is replaced, the new enclosure must comply with the new standards and requires a permit. If parts of the pool enclosure are repaired or replaced, there is no requirement to upgrade to present day standards (other than the new requirement to lock gates).

Where a wall of a building, such as a garage, forms part of the enclosure, all doors having direct access outside the pool area must also be equipped with self-closing, latching and lockable devices located a minimum 1.35 m (4 ft 6 in) above the door which must remain closed and locked at all times that the pool is not in use. An overhead garage door cannot form part of a pool enclosure.

Above Ground Pools

The vertical walls of an above ground pool may form part of a pool enclosure if:

  • They are at least 1.5 metres (5 ft) in height and do not possess any horizontal members that may facilitate climbing; and
  • The ladder area, or deck, which provides access to the above ground pool, is enclosed by a gated enclosure which complies with the By-law.

Removable or swing type ladders used to access above-ground pools are not allowed as part of the required enclosure.

Hot Tubs

A hot tub with a compliant safety cover that is locked when not in use is exempt from the gate and fence requirements of the By-law – the safety cover acts as the enclosure. A pool enclosure permit and inspection will still be required. Hot tubs without a compliant safety cover will are still be subject to the fence and gate requirements of the By-law. The manufacturer's specifications for the safety cover for hot tubs must be provided when applying for a permit.

Temporary Enclosures

The By-law now provides the option of installing a temporary pool enclosure that must completely surround the construction site if there is not already an enclosure, or until a permanent pool enclosure is in place.

If the temporary pool enclosure has been installed and inspected, the pool may be filled with water for up to 14 days, at which time a permanent pool enclosure must be installed.

If you intend to install a temporary enclosure, please contact the noted inspector to advise and discuss.

Required Inspections

The owner of a property on which a pool and pool enclosure are being constructed, or their contractor, must arrange for the following inspections:

  • In the case of a temporary pool enclosure, prior to the pool being filled with any water; and
  • At the completion of the construction of the permanent pool enclosure.
  • The permit plans and specifications must be on site and made available to the Building Inspector at the time of inspection.

The Building Inspector's name and phone number are identified on the pool enclosure permit.

Purchasers of dwellings with pools can now obtain a Pool Enclosure Compliance Report [226 KB] to confirm the compliance of the pool enclosure.

Remember to keep all pools, filters and equipment off of any easements.

If any electrical work is required, please ensure that a permit is obtained from the Electrical Safety Authority office at 1-877-372-7233.

Remember to "call before you dig" — contact the Ontario One-Call Service at 1-800-400-2255 to arrange for cable locates on your property.

Hydro Ottawa regulates minimum clearances for above grade electrical conductors adjacent to and over pools. Contact 613-738-6418 for specific information.

Call the Ontario One-Call Service at 1-800-400-2255 for street lighting locates, which may run alongside or at the back of your property.


Building Code Service counters are open for personal services by appointment only. This includes the submission of permit applications, payment of fees and the issuance of permits. 

There are various methods for submitting applications.

Application Forms: Pool Enclosure