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The Canadian Government has promised a crackdown on ‘black market’ pool contractors.

The move comes in the form of two new laws which are being prepared for legislation which will mean pool builders have to supply proof of insurance whenever they renew their pool building licences and the second requires insurers to report client companies underreporting salaries.

Illegal contracting practices have long been a significant problem both for consumers who have been damaged by black market contractors and law-abiding

contractors who have struggled to compete against those who cut costs and corners by not properly insuring workers.

The new laws come at a time when the Canadian Government is increasing enforcement of contracting laws, including sting operations targeting unlicenced contractors. Over 100 illegal contractors were arrested in one ‘sting’ operation in late November. “For years now it’s been common knowledge that illegal contracting practices have been a problem in the swimming pool market, and in recent years the recession has only

exacerbated the problem. Contractors have rightly become frustrated by the lack of enforcement and the overall destructive nature of illegal practices. We want to support the properly registered pool builder and take away the illegal element which in the long run is damaging the reputation of the industry,” said a Government spokesman.


Pools throughout the United States have suddenly found themselves in a desperate rush to comply with changes to the Disabilities Act which specifies the access needed for pools and spas.

With only weeks to go before the compliance deadline, inquiries about the Americans with Disabilities Act started to cause panic in the industry. Thousands of pools were set to miss the target date of 15 March for compliance – and face the threat of having to close down because they had not registered facilities to allow disabled people access to swimming facilities. In 2010, the US Department of Justice finalised the Standards for Accessible Design, which specified the access needed for pools and spas. Most public pools must have a sloped entry or lift, and those measuring more than 300 perimeter feet need a second means of access. Spas must have a lift, transfer wall or transfer system. And facility managers are discouraged from using the same mechanism twice. Lifts are expected to be the most popular choice because of their lower cost and lack of intrusion to the pool structure and surrounding deck.

While the deadline for new pools

and spas was last year, the approaching date applies to existing facilities. Some pool owners didn’t see it as a hard and fast rule, however, because the standards state that certain facilities could pass with a written plan showing how the fittings would take place over time. After a year with few inquiries, managers, particularly hotels and commercial pools, suddenly began to approach pool professionals wanting action straight away. When the ADA standards originally were finalised, some professionals likened it to the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, with its requirement that

all commercial pools and spas undergo fittings for entrapment prevention. But unlike VGB, there hadn’t been a rush to meet the deadline – until it became clear there was the possibility that pools could be shut for non-compliance. In addition, many facilities are still feeling the frustration of VGB, with its urgent deadlines, product recall and changes in requirements. Pool owners were attempting to purchase lifts directly from manufacturers or distributors, or via the Internet. Service and construction firms then may be asked merely to install the lifts, or be forced to sell them near cost.

WorldNews APR 2012 SPN


CANADIAN GOVERNMENT EMBARRASSED BILL The Canadian Government has suffered a public relations disaster by spending C$30,000 to fight a C$2,653 swimming pool maintenance bill. Ian Thomson, a retired diplomat has battled for six years to recoup money he spent while posted in Dubai. The dispute dates back to 2006, when Thomson, accepted a federal posting in the UAE. An administrator told Thomson he’d be getting a villa with a swimming pool but he’d have to pay to maintain it. Soon after arriving, Thomson discovered that he was the only staff member who paid for pool upkeep out of his own pocket. After retiring in 2009,

Thomson took the government to small claims court and won a judgement for the C$2,653.56. To his surprise, the federal government appealed the decision but the Ontario Superior Court upheld the original verdict.

US$2OM SETTLEMENT FOR SLIDE DEATH A US jury in Massachusetts has handed down a judgment of more than US$20m to a plaintiff whose wife died from injuries resulting from the use of an inflatable pool slide. The judgment included US$18m in punitive damages and extra in anticipated lost wages.

The Salem Superior Court jury found in their verdict, that the chain retailer Toys ‘R’ Us was culpable for the importation and sale of a Banzai Falls Water Slide, which was deemed unsafe. The accident was caused when the water slide deflated during use and allowed Robin Aleo, 29, to drop onto the pool deck where she suffered a fatal blow to the head.

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