The number of “Body Rub Parlours” (BRP) may be going up in Toronto.
According to a report heading to council, the city regulates adult entertainment parlours, including BRPs, to ensure health and safety of workers and the public and to mitigate for community nuisance.
Back in 1998, the city began regulating holistic services to ensure public health and safety and consumer protection. The report states that since its introduction, the misuse of the licensing category by providers of services that are not holistic services has “undermined this original intent.”
“Many holistic centres currently providing unauthorized services would be better captured under the BRP licence category,” reads the report. “However, the BRP licences in the City of Toronto are capped at 25, preventing new businesses from obtaining a BRP licence.”
Additionally, the BRP licence category and cap have not been reviewed formally since the rules were first enacted in 1975. Since then, the body rub industry has evolved, according to the city report, which outlines a review of the by-laws that govern the BRP and holistic industries.
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The report “seeks city council’s endorsement on an approach to regulating these industries based on the principles of ensuring the health, safety and well-being of persons; consumer protection; and ensuring the general well-being of the City of Toronto, including mitigating community impacts.”
Among the changes is the proposal that council remove the cap on BRPs.
“This would allow businesses offering body rub services to qualify for a licence with an appropriate level of regulations and oversight,” reads the report.
Another proposed change is the permitted hours of operations of BRPs.
Currently, BRPs are permitted to operate from 9 am to 9 pm on Monday to Saturday, and from 12 pm to 5 pm on Sundays and holidays. The staff are proposing that the by-law be amended to permit BRPs to extend hours of operation from 9 am to 1 am.
As well, in conjunction with the review of the BRP by-law, city staff are reassessing the need to license holistic services.
With this proposed change, holistic centres and practitioners providing body rub services would be required to obtain “body rub licences.”
In the report, holistic services are defined as any modality used as a tool for therapeutic and wellness purposes. This excludes body rubs, and medical or therapeutic treatments performed by “persons otherwise duly qualified.” Holistic practitioners are also required to be members of one of the 37 approved Professional Holistic Associations (PHAs).
The city report will be considered by General Government and Licensing Committee on May 21, and by city council on June 18.