Giardiasis surveillance data as well as drinking water, socioeconomic and land-use data were used in spatial regression models to investigate determinants of the geographic distribution of endemic giardiasis in southern Ontario. Higher giardiasis rates were observed in areas using surface water [rate ratio (RR) 2.36, 95 % CI 1.38-4.05] and in rural areas (RR 1.79, 95 % CI 1.32-2.37). Lower rates were observed in areas using filtered water (RR 0.55, 95 % CI 0.42-0.94) and in those with high median income (RR 0.62, 95 % CI 0.42-0.92). Chlorination of drinking water, cattle density and intensity of manure application on farmland were not significant determinants. The study shows that waterborne transmission plays an important role in giardiasis distribution in southern Ontario and that well-collected routine surveillance data could be useful for investigation of disease determinants and identification of high-risk communities. This information is useful in guiding decisions on control strategies.