Beauty Council wants cities to regulate hair salons and more

An industry group says uncertified spas, hair salons and the like are causing injuries and infections to customers. They want municipalities to start regulating such businesses.

Beauty Council of Western Canada says such businesses were deregulated in 2003

A hair stylist in action. The Beauty Council of Western Canada has about 4,000 certified members. In 2003, there were over 20,000 spas, hair salons, nail salons and estheticians working in B.C. (Kevin Jaako/Flickr)

Unsanitary equipment. Infections. Burns. Hair inadvertently removed against a customer's wishes.

Those are just some of the complaints about salons, spas and estheticians that the Beauty Council of Western Canada are hearing from dissatisfied customers.

They say the problem of underqualified people opening up such businesses has been growing since 2003, when the province deregulated the beauty industry.

"Every day we get complaints that so-and-so salon is dirty, so-and-so isn't certified," Kym Elderkin, the Beauty Council's director of education told Radio West host Rebecca Zandbergen. "We tell them it's out of our hands because it's not regulated."

And since the province isn't regulating such businesses, the Beauty Council wants municipalities to step in and start enforcing mandatory certification with the Beauty Council as the certifying authority

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Elderkin says applicants for Beauty Council certification must go through an exam and then do a practical exam, usually at their place of business. The exams are focused on health and safety things such as infection control and sanitary practices, and the whole process costs up to $250 for a business to be licensed and made a member of the Beauty Council.

Elderkin says the certification is focused on the safety of the public.

"If the consumer knew that a lot of the practitioners out there for hairdressing, estheticians and nail technicians were not certified, they'd be a little concerned," she said. "You go to your doctor or your dentist or these other people who perform personal services on you have to be certified and properly trained. Why can't we?"

The Beauty Council wants all municipalities in B.C. to adopt their certification. Currently, Surrey, New Westminster and North Vancouver have done so, and Delta is in the process of adopting them.

Fort St. John City Council will be debating adopting the guidelines at Monday's meeting.


To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Should hair stylists, nail technicians and others be regulated?