Saskatchewan

Sask. introducing annual inspections of nail salons

Up until recently, the province ran on a complaints-based system, meaning nail salons only had to be inspected if a customer reported them. That meant nail salons could go years without being inspected.

Salons previously inspected only after complaints

Up until recently, the province ran on a complaints-based system, meaning nail salons only had to be inspected if a customer reported them. (CBC News)

Nail salons in Saskatchewan must now be inspected on a yearly basis.  

Up until recently, the province ran on a complaints-based system, meaning nail salons only had to be inspected if a customer reported them.

That meant nail salons could go years without being inspected. It's possible some have never been put under the microscope.

There are 92 nail salons in Regina. In the past year, only three complaints were filed to public health about nail salons.

Leanne Brown, head nail educator at The Style Academy in Regina, owns and operates Slayed Esthetics Lounge with her business partner.

Leanne Brown, head nail educator at The Style Academy in Regina, is a journeyperson but says she has to compete with nail technicians who have cheaper prices, but little to no education. (CBC News)

She is a journeyperson but said she has to compete with nail technicians who have cheaper prices, but little to no education.

"There are a lot of unqualified nail technicians and a lot of discount nail salons. People are going to these discount nail salons because it's cheaper and it's fast," she said. "You get what you pay for and usually if there's a discount price there's a reason why. We pay thousands of dollars for our education and we stay on top of things.

"They're lacking certain education and they're not following the scope of practise."

What to look for

According to Brown, some salons still use the acrylic MMA which is intended for dental work. It was banned by Health Canada in 2003 because it can poison the nail bed, cause extreme allergic reactions and lead the entire nail to fall off.

She said many discount salons don't disinfect tools properly. Clients can end up with infections and nail fungus.

There are 92 nail salons in Regina on the Ministry of Health radar. Only three complaints were filed last year, meaning that's how many would have been inspected under the former rules. (CBC News)

"Clients should be asking things like, What are you using on my nails, why are you using that on my nails?" Brown suggested. "Of course, we know that if someone is knowledgeable, you feel safer."

Brown said nail technicians should complete a full client consultation, have a clean area, and use sanitizing sprays and nail cleanser throughout the procedure.

Red flags include dirty files and implements, not cleansing hands. Tools need to be cleaned and sterilized with medical-grade disinfectant in between customers.

Red flags to look for at nail salons

Saskatchewan

3 years ago
0:21
Do you know which tools are one use and which have to be sterilized between clients? Here is a quick guide. 0:21

Ian Harrison, public health inspection supervisor, said one inspector has been designated responsible for inspecting all personal service facilities in Regina.

"Our inspector will go into the nail salon and they'll be looking for general hygiene, cleanliness, also, proper disinfection of the reusable tools that the nail salon will be using and showing that the single-use tools are discarded after use," Harrison said.

Professionals calling for more regulation

If there is a violation, the salon owner will normally be given a warning and a timeline to take corrective action.

If a salon is deemed to be a great risk to public health, it can be shut down, but that's never happened.

So far, about 80 salons have been inspected in the city.

Harrison said most of the owners have been cooperative, as any changes requested have been those that take minimal time and are of little cost.

Ian Harrison, public health inspection supervisor, said one inspector has been designated responsible for checking over all the salons in Regina. (CBC News)

Brown said she is excited that the number of inspections has increased.

"I would love to see everybody get on board and be on the same page and follow the same regulations, the same procedures, and making sure that everybody is safe," she said.  

In Saskatchewan, you don't need a licence to practise as a nail technician but do need certification from a government-approved if you want to write your journeyperson exam.

Brown said there are only about 150 nail technicians that hold their journeyperson certificate in Saskatchewan.

She wants to see it become mandatory.

It's something the Ministry of Health said is under consideration. For now, the hope is that upping the number of inspections will make sure that local salons are being operated in a safe manner.

Complaints regarding Regina area nail salons can be directed to environmentalhealth@rqhealth.ca or (306) 766-7755.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alex Soloducha is a reporter for CBC Saskatchewan.

now