Pools and hot tubs

Swimming Pool By-law

The Swimming Pool By-law states that people shall not fill or leave water in a swimming pool when it is not surrounded by a fence.

A swimming pool is described in By-law (1994)-14460 as “any privately-owned outdoor body of water, including a hot tub, which is designed to be used for swimming, diving or bathing in which the depth of water at any point can exceed 600mm (23 ½ inches).”

Permit requirements

  • Complete and sign permit application. The required fee must be submitted with the permit application.
  • Submit a copy of the lot Survey (to scale) showing the location, shape and size of the proposed pool. Indicate pool fence and gate locations.
  • Indicate the distance from the edge of pool to all property lines.
  • Sketch on the survey all accessory structures (decks, sheds, garages) with dimensions
  • Submit pool specs (from pool contractor) – actual square footage of water


All swimming pools and hot tubs must comply with Zoning regulations. These requirements include:

  • Cannot be in a front or required exterior side yard
  • Permitted in the exterior side yard when located behind the rear wall of the main building and in compliance with sightline regulations
  • Must be setback a minimum of 1.5 metres (4.92’) from the property line

Swimming pools

Inground pools

  • The pool or yard must have a fence with a minimum height of 1.5 metres (4’11”), measured from ground level to the top of the fence.
  • The type of pool fencing allowed is the described in the Swimming Pool and Hot Tub Requirements
Above ground, on-ground or inflatable pools

A fence surrounding the swimming pool is not required where:

  • The vertical sides of the pool and any deck or other assembly forming part of the pool are minimum height of 1.5 metres (4’11”).
  • Such vertical sides and assemblies are constructed and maintained in such a manner to prevent climbing;
  • The ladder or stair assembly providing access to the pool or to any deck or other assembly forming part of the pool is hinged and constructed in a manner so as to be latched in an upright position thereby preventing entry to the pool.
  • Every ladder or other stair assembly providing access to the swimming pool is located in the upright position at all times when the swimming pool is not being used.
A number of these large inflatable pools are capable of maintaining a depth of water of 600 mm (23½ inches) or greater. For the protection of all citizens, especially children, if you own this type of swimming pool, or are considering purchasing one, you must obtain a permit and install an approved enclosure (fencing) prior to installation.

Hot tubs

  • Require a lockable lid or cover with withstands human weight without collapse and such lid or cover is locked in place at all times when hot tub is not in use.
  • A yard fence. The type of pool fencing allowed is described in the Swimming Pool and Hot Tub Requirements


Building permits are not required for decorative ponds. Water contained in decorative ponds and bird baths must be changed every four days or be equipped with a pump to prevent standing water in accordance with City of Guelph Standing Water By-law (2003)-17192


Every owner shall ensure the fence surrounding a swimming pool or hot tub:

  • Is located minimum .5 metres (1’8”) away from any other fence or permanent object that may facilitate climbing of the swimming pool fence;
  • is erected and maintained in a structural sound condition so as to prevent access to the swimming pool or hot tub when not in use;
  • Have a maximum opening of .1 metre (4”) between the bottom of the fence and the ground at any point directly below the fence;
  • Has no barbed wire or electric current through any portion of the fence;

Gates and Ladders

Every owner shall ensure that:

  • Every gate is equipped with a self-closing mechanism and a self-latching device in proper working order at all times;
  • Every self latching device is installed on the swimming pool side of each gate near the top of the gate and such device is at least 1.2 metres (3’11”) above ground level;
  • Every gate is locked at all times when the swimming pool or pool area is not being used

View the Swimming Pool and Hot Tub Requirements guide for more details.