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Aquatics guidelines updated to align with Alberta Human Rights Act

July 7, 2023 9:09 AM
(Red Deer, Alberta)

Updates to the Aquatics Facilities Use Guidelines have been made after developing a better understanding of the Alberta Human Rights Act. The main update, focusing on being inclusive while ensuring the health and safety of all visitors, is to swim attire requirements in City operated aquatics spaces.

Appropriate swim attire, which is now clearly defined in the guidelines, requires all swimmers to wear swim bottoms; the use of a swim top is a patron’s choice. The update is about more than just swim tops though; it’s about allowing options for different people, cultures and religions while still being safe. It is about allowing things like burkinis, full coverage of head/legs, allowing shorts and t-shirts, to name a few. The full definition of appropriate swim attire includes a broad variety of options to ensure all visitors can comfortably and safely access pool spaces.

“We do not discriminate based on gender, gender identity or gender expression. We are now in alignment with Alberta Human Rights Act,” said Ken McMullen, Acting City Manager. “We must always be looking at our own practices, operations, and services, finding ways to evolve and recognize the diversity in our community.”

The purpose of the Alberta Human Rights Act is to ensure all Albertans are offered an equal opportunity to earn a living, find a place to live, and enjoy services customarily available to the public without discrimination. The Act has not changed recently, however, several other cities in Alberta have recently adjusted their guidelines, which triggered a review of The City’s aquatics guidelines.

“We are constantly connecting with community, reviewing recreation industry leading practices and working with other communities to understand how we can adjust our operations to fulfil our commitment of providing accessible recreation opportunities for everyone,” said Barb McKee, Recreation Superintendent. “This update is a perfect example of how important that collaboration is; it pushes us to continually develop a better understanding of the needs of our community, and what shifts we need to make to align them with regulating bodies.”

Before heading to one of our aquatic facilities, take a read through our detailed Question and Answer sheet FAQ - Updated Aquatics Facilities Use Guidelines (pdf), or review the newly updated Aquatics Facilities User Guidelines Aquatics Facilities Use Guidelines (pdf).

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