Just months after new regulations were set for body rub centres in Edmonton, the City is looking at restricting hours of operation. In January, bylaws changed, introducing a number of safeguards for the industry.
“I think the biggest and most important one is the requirement for a course to obtain a license, and at least increased awareness from the people working in the industry,” explains Scott Mackie, Manager of the City’s Current Planning Branch.
The course is on labour legislation, and teaches workers about their rights and responsibilities.
The changes implemented in January also allowed parlours to operate on a 24 hour basis.
“There was information coming back, though, that even with the changes, it led to increased recruitment and that was cause for concern,” says Mackie.
Now, council is looking to restrict hours of operation from 7AM until 11PM, to further protect the safety of employees. Supporters say it will hopefully reduce exploitation and make conditions safer for those working in the industry.
“It’s something that we want to make sure we come up with the best solution that protects the public interest, in particular, the individuals that are working in the industry,” Mackie adds.
“I think that the idea of controlling the hours and ensuring that people have proper training is important and we need to monitor to make sure that, at the end of the day, where does the problem exist now, where do we need to go to solve if there are other issues,” says Mayor Stephen Mandel adding, “There’s a lot of people being taken advantage of, being forced into these roles and we try to do as best we can to take care of them.”
The idea to change hours of operation initially came up at council in the spring however, some people wanted to offer their input. The issue went back to the committee level Wednesday, to give them that chance however, nobody showed up to speak. The issue will go back to the council level next week, where councillors will make their final decision.
With files from Vinesh Pratap.