Health inspector visiting Regina nail salons
Health region wants to educate salons on best safety practices
A public health inspector is visiting nail salons in the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region, but not for pampering.
Instead, the region wants to educate those who provide manicures and pedicures on how to offer those services as safely as possible.
In April, the health region mailed out a letter and a fact sheet to all of the salons in its jurisdiction. It's following up with a visit from one of its public health inspectors.
A spokesperson for the region, Lisa Thomson, said the inspector has already visited about half of the approximately 90 salons in the Regina area.
She said the visits will take place throughout the year.
In Saskatchewan, inspections of nail salons are done only if a complaint has been received — as opposed to other provinces such as Ontario, which conducts annual inspections as well as those sparked by complaints.
The health region's letter said it wants to evaluate "safe esthetic procedures in order to protect the health and safety of both the client and the technician."
It has said in the past that its decision to inspect salons only after a complaint relates to the risk involved with such places and the costs of inspections.
The region said it got just five complaints about salons in its most recent fiscal year, from 2015-16.
Regina spa CEO says regulation needed
Patricia Cassell-Ogilvie, CEO at En Vogue Day Spa and Gift Studio in Regina, said the lack of specific standards in the province has been a great concern of hers for quite a few years.
"I think it's maybe an issue of them not understanding the industry itself as much as they might have to," she said. "They're used to doing, you know, hospitals and restaurants and tattoo parlours and that sort of thing."
Cassell-Ogilvie was also on the national board of directors of the Leading Spas of Canada in 2011 to 2014 to be part of the ongoing development of the spa industry and safety in Canada. She said the spa industry is the fastest industry in North America.
It would make me so happy if everybody would be providing safe services because what's going to happen is some time, someone is going to be really injured.- Patricia Cassell-Ogilvie
"The spa industry is kind of that little niche (industry) that they don't have as much information as perhaps they need to have."
Cassell-Ogilvie used tattoo parlours as an example of an industry that was not regulated for many years.
"It took some time before the government understood that they needed to be regulated, they needed to be checked," she said.
Calling the recent inspections a "baby step", Cassell-Ogilvie said she is happy the health region is starting to become more involved.
"I'd be happy if every spa in the city, in the province had some sort of regulation," she said. "You don't have to have any sort of degree or diploma or anything like that in order to open up a building and say you're a spa. People that work there should have certification from a reliable school, but I know of instances where that is not even happening."
While some consumers care more about the lowest price possible, Cassell-Ogilvie said the cheapest isn't always the best.
"I'm not saying that all small places are bad," she said. "But sometimes, you know, it's also part of an economic thing as well. It's very expensive to buy the products that you need to do in order to sterilize your instruments ... And let's face it, some businesses just would not have funds, and that's why they provide a $20 pedicure and we have to charge $70."
Not everyone will see the risks associated with getting your nails done. However, Cassell-Ogilvie said there are legitimate health and safety concerns.
She used the example of someone getting a pedicure after shaving their legs. If that person cut themselves, or had opened pores from waxing, and there was bacteria in the pedicure bowl or on the spa's tools, she said people could develop very serious infections.
"It would make me so happy if everybody would be providing safe services because what's going to happen is some time, someone is going to be really injured and they're going to paint us all with the same brush."