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Closing down the wading pools on a hot July day

01-Oct-2011 No authority behind the rules...... [671]

• Minister Deb Matthew's Health ministry staff thought they had the power to make rules about wading pools. Staff was wrong - and their unauthorized rules closed down wading pools early. Parents and caregivers made it clear they want their pools open


Neighbourhood wading pools closed early on a hot July day (2011). The Minister admitted her Ministry officials made a mistake; they did not have the authority to regulate wading pools, and the pools should not have been shut down. The Minister explained that these rules were only "guidelines" and not enforceable regulations. How could city health boards, other city staff, or citizens know what rules are enforceable, and which are only guidelines?

To date, the Minister has not clarified her staff's authority to make rules.

What were - and are - the other, unseen costs of civil servants making rules for wading pools across the province?

  1. When Ministry staff wrote rules for wading pools, they unwittingly overrode a deliberate decision by our elected Cabinet Ministers - that wading pools are not to be regulated like public swimming pools.
  2. In doing this,they also took on our elected officials' job of making the rules.
  3. Public money was and continues to be spent on staff time - to develop numerous wading pool rules and protocols - including various on-going training requirements.
  4. Each new rule leads to further city spending and pressure on municipal public health budgets - to staff and regulate wading pools on the mistaken assumption that Ministry "guidelines" are “mandatory programs”.
  5. Running our popular wading pool is harder and harder, with each new - and often inexplicable - protocol and new "training requirements".


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