Toronto Public Health conducts inspections of all public pools/spas (hot tubs) within the city of Toronto to ensure compliance with minimum health and safety standards. This is done to minimize injuries and prevent fatalities. It can be argued that a high rate of compliance with health and safety standards is necessary to prevent fatalities and minimize injuries. Experience, however, has shown that the compliance rate plateaus at a much lower rate unless other complementary action is taken to significantly increase compliance such as public disclosure of inspection findings.
Upon implementation of DineSafe, Toronto's public disclosure system for restaurants, compliance with food safety regulations within the city of Toronto significantly increased with a corresponding decrease in food related illness. To achieve such gains in health and safety of public pool and spa users, Toronto Public Health developed and successfully implemented SwimSafe in 2016.
The SwimSafe disclosure system discloses inspection findings on Toronto Public Health's internet page and requires facility owners to post colour coded signs at all entrances to the pools and spas. This enables pool/spa users to be informed about inspection outcomes for their favourite facility within the City of Toronto. With this knowledge, patrons are now empowered to make informed health and safety decisions in their choice of a particular pool or spa.
This presentation will address key aspects of the SwimSafe disclosure system, and its development and implementation. It will further discuss the rationale for its development and outline some of the successes and challenges encountered.