Summary of changes to water sampling regulations for schools, private schools and child care centres













NOTE: This is a summary of Ontario Regulation 243/07 with integrated revisions effective as of July 1, 2017. On July 1, 2017, the title to the Regulation is revoked and the following substituted: (See: O. Reg. 459/16, s. 1)


This regulation applies to schools, private schools and child care centres. (Child care centres are any premises operated by a person licenced under the Child Care and Early Years Act to operate a child care centre at the premises).  The samples must be taken from drinking water fountains and taps that are used for preparation of food or drink or for drinking purposes for consumption by children under the age of 18 (the fixtures).

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Annual testing for lead in drinking water must be conducted between May 1 and October 31. For child care centres and schools offering instruction to students up to, and including, grade 3, at least 1/3 of all fixtures must be sampled in 2017, at least another 1/3 of all fixtures must be sampled in 2018, and all fixtures must be sampled by January 1, 2020.  For schools offering instruction in grade 4 or higher only, every fixture not yet sampled must be sampled by January 1, 2022.  Fixtures that have been previously sampled (after June 7, 2007) are considered to have been sampled for the purposes of this requirement.

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Lab must report any exceedances to the School and other stakeholders, as outlined in the regulation, within 24 hours and the school must report to Medical Officer of Health, MOECC Spills Action Centre and the Ministry of Education within 24 hours.

If an exceedance is reported, do the following:

  • Immediately render the fixture where the exceedance was reported inaccessible for use by children under the age of 18 (i.e. stop using the water supply fixture!)

Tip: Implementing a policy to use bottled water only until the exceedance is eliminated is considered a best practice.

  • Take remedial actions required. This includes (but may not be limited to) the following:
    • Periodic flushing of the system
    • Installation of filtration system(s)
    • Re-testing to confirm 2nd litre meets required lead levels


Routine Flushing Requirements (mitigation of lead exposure risks to students):

Water must be flushed at all school, private school or child care centre at least weekly by running the last tap on each water line run for 5 minutes and then run each tap or fountain for at least 10 seconds before weekly occupancy begins.  A record of the flushing must be made.

Water must be flushed daily if at least one of the following is true:

  • Plumbing in any part of the building is pre-1990 installation
  • Any of “second litre” samples within the last 24 months failed for lead content
  • No samples have been collected within the last 24 months

Exceptions and alternate arrangements:

This regulation does not apply to non-powered system if notices warning that water is not safe to drink are posted.

Director may order alternate arrangements.  On or before the second anniversary of the given direction mentioned, the Director shall review the direction and its implementation. Notification must be given to the Director indicating the laboratory that will analyse the samples before testing is done.

Samples may be taken only once in every third calendar year if all of the following is true:

  • For the last 24 months, none of the samples in the building exceeded regulatory lead limits for water
  • Every fixture has been sampled since June 7, 2007
  • A notice has been submitted to the Director

These exceptions generally apply to all new schools or child care centres.

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Source: Law Document English View. (2015, April 13). Retrieved February 28, 2017, from



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