CORNWALL, Ontario - While the provincial health ministry has laid out a plan to prohibit those under age 18 from using the facilities at tanning salons, local business owners say that rule is already being unofficially enforced.
Tanning salon owners contacted by Seaway News suggested the rules announced by Health Minister Deb Matthews are simply a reflection of an industry trend.
"Not only age, but the times they go in and the amount of time they are in there," said Nataly Carriere, owner of Beauty Zone in Alexandria. "I am very conscious.
"You need to be aware of the dangers."
Matthews' bill takes aim at banning the sale of tanning services to minors to protect them from skin cancer. The World Health Organization puts tanning beds in the same cancer-risk category as tobacco and asbestos.
In the future customers will have to provide identification and salon owners will have to post signs detailing the health risks associated with their services.
Fines will be issued to salon owners who break the rules.
That's fine with Rick Welburn, of Summit Health and Fitness in Cornwall, which provides tanning services in addition to gym facilities.
"It totally makes sense," he said. "Right now anyone under 18 we won't let tan anyways."
Welburn suggested the majority of his clientele that still measure their age in teens come to his facility to work out.
"It's mainly people older than that, in their 20s, who come to tan," he said.
Associations that advocate on behalf of the tanning industry were disappointed with the government bill and suggested it is an overreaction, given the self-policing that already takes place.
"Ontario’s professional salon sector is disappointed that this legislation was brought forward," said Joint Canadian Tanning Association president Doug McNabb. "Salons have long instituted standards which restrict access for youth, unfortunately due to the actions of a few bad apples within our industry who do not share the JCTA’s commitment to client protection, the government has felt the need to respond.”