Health inspectors going too far, says Whitehorse hair salon owner

A Whitehorse hair salon owner is angry about government inspectors' insistence that she install a hand sink next to a row of shampooing sinks.

Sheila Robertson says insistence on hand sink next to row of sinks is 'stupid'

Whitehorse hair salon owner Sheila Robertson says government needs to use common sense in applying its health inspection rules. (CBC)

A Whitehorse salon owner, annoyed that she had to install a new sink, says health inspectors' zeal just doesn't wash.

Sheila Robertson, the owner of Hello Gorgeous hair salon, says the government is not using common sense, after inspectors forced her to install a hand washing sink.

Before last fall, Robertson had four shampooing sinks, a bathroom sink and a kitchen sink in her salon, all with hot and cold running water. But Robertson says health inspectors told her that wasn't enough — the shampooing work station also had to have a hand sink. 

Sheila Robertson said she had to replace a shampooing sink with the hand sink in the foreground. (CBC)

Last November, she unhappily replaced a $1,000 shampooing sink with a $600 hand sink.

"This is stupid," Robertson says.

"If we have so much infrastructure and red tape and hoops we've got to jump through, you know what, shut it down, go do something else, or go under. Like, lots of people are collecting EI [employment insurance] and doing hair."

She decided to speak out after hearing news this month that Whitehorse's weekend soup kitchen was told by inspectors to stop serving meals made in volunteers' homes. Robertson said things have become too "top heavy."

Benton Foster, the manager of Environmental Health Services for the territorial government, said dedicated hand basins are standard for any personal services business across Canada.

The rule is meant to ensure there is always a sink available for washing hands, he said.


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