That new hairstyle, perfect manicure or lower back tattoo may be coming with more than style risks and Ottawa Public Health is looking for a new bylaw to make such facilities safer.
At a board meeting last week, deputy medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches made a pitch for a new bylaw that would require personal service shops, like salons, manicurists and tattoo parlours to register with the city.
Currently, public health inspects those facilities regularly, but they first have to find them.
“We’re expecting the ones we know about. What we find is the operators really appreciate advice on how to prevent infections,” he said.
Etches said officers find between 20 and 30 new locations every year that they were unaware of, often just by driving around and spotting a new location.
Since 2013, public health has found 3,443 deficiencies in the shops they have inspected with half of those deemed critical problems that could result in infections.
She said manicure and pedicure salons have generated the most complaints and she said they believe there are some cost pressures that prevent them from seeking out public health.
“The manicure pedicure service are sometimes difficult business to run and I think they probably have challenges balancing their costs with making revenue, so I think there are financial pressures on business to stay low profile,” she said.
The proposal, which the Public Health Board passed unanimously, would see city council develop a bylaw requiring registration. The exact fee would be in council’s hands, but the board believes it could be a one-time cost of $55 to the owner, just to cover administration costs.
Businesses operating without having registered would face fines.
Etches said they don’t believe most businesses are trying to avoid scrutiny, but they just may not be aware that public health support is available.
“There is a bit of an unlevel playing field, some operate without our advice.”
This article originally appeared on Metro News.