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Regina council to decide on proposed changes to bylaw affecting massage parlours

Click to play video '‘Body Rub Establishment’ regulations revealed' ‘Body Rub Establishment’ regulations revealed
WATCH: Regina City Council's Executive Committee received a report today outlining a proposed name and regulations for so-called massage parlors – Jun 5, 2019

Massage parlours in Regina could soon be referred to as “body rub establishments,” due to potential amendments to a local bylaw.

The City of Regina will consider a number of changes including definitions in the Zoning Bylaw at their Executive Committee on Jun 12.

Changes to the bylaw would distinctly differentiate between registered massage therapists and massage parlours providing sexual services.

READ MORE: City of Regina working on massage parlour bylaw

“Defining between therapeutic massage and body rubs, they would have to produce evidence that they have registered therapeutic massage workers, whereas the other ones wouldn’t,” said Diana Hawryluk, City of Regina executive director of city planning and community development.

“Those are things that would help us regulate it when we go in to get evidence.”

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Changes would also include developing licensing agreements to regulate hours of operation, health and safety standards, working training and support.

“It brings a picture of police, health, fire and other outreach services into this sector where it’s never been in before,”  said Corey Zaharuk, Regina Police Service superintendent.

READ MORE: City, police investigate members-only strip club in Regina

“Our opportunities to assist some of these vulnerable folks who work in the sector increases dramatically.”

WATCH: Regina currently working on bylaw to better govern illicit massage parlours (September, 2018) 

Click to play video 'Regina massage parlours' Regina massage parlours
Regina massage parlours – Sep 26, 2018

Another proposed change would apply a block separation system similar to cannabis retail outlets, under which the business would need to be one block away from schools, churches and day cares.

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“We felt following those same separation distances would be suitable, but it something council could debate if they decide to move forward with the proposals,” Hawryluk said.

The City says it has received complaints regarding these types of business in the past, but shutting them down isn’t that easy.

In 2014, changes were made to Canada’s prostitution laws making it illegal to purchase sexual services, but not to charge those selling them.

READ MORE: ‘Modern day slavery’: Why human trafficking often flies under the radar in Canada

“Prohibiting the sale of sex or the prevention or punishment of human trafficking is a criminal law purpose,” Hawryluk said.

“Any bylaw activated for these purposes is likely to be struck down as encroaching on the federal jurisdiction.”

The other change would see the City continue to allow body rub establishments to operate at their discretion in industrial areas and would apply the same rules to commercial areas.

The City has said in the past they believe Regina is home to 21 “body rub parlours” and an industry that continues to grow.

City council can vote to approve the changes at their June 24th council meeting. If approved, the changes to the bylaw could be enforced by December 2020.

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