Updated: Aug 6, 2020

Our Beauty Industry Is Taking

A Huge CUT

Since March 15th, all non-essential services, which included Ontario salon/spa businesses, were asked to close their doors to help flatten the curve for COVID-19.

Who was to know twelve weeks later, our industry would still be closed in Ontario with no sign on when we will reopen.

Our industry and businesses are suffering, and as each day, and week passes, we are getting more frustrated with how our government is handling the phases of reopening our province.

On May 14th, Doug Ford announced, "Ontario salons won't be opening anytime soon." On May 29th Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Office, indicated that salons won't reopen until phase three. Adding insult to injury, he shared how his daughter used a pair of their dog's scissors to cut his hair. That comment sent shock waves through our industry. Maybe Dr. Roumeliotis needs to be reminded, we are professionals who have spent many years in schools, apprenticeship programs learning and bettering our skills. Something we continue to do to this day.

Alain Audet, executive director, Allied Beauty Association of Canada estimates that in Ontario alone, the professional beauty sector (also known as personal services) is about a seven billion-dollar industry.

Unfortunately, it’s an industry that is still not respected. In the past, becoming a hairdresser didn’t require a higher education. As salon owner of 20 years, I can confirm that idea is outdated. It takes a lot of dedication and hard work to create a successful hair salon and our stylist are skilled professionals who are trained.

In fact, did you know, to be certified as a hairstylist in Ontario it requires over 3,020 hours of work as an apprenticeship (possible to do in two years), plus 480 hours of in-school training (for a total of 3,500 hours). This includes instruction on sanitization. And yes, many attend colleges and keep upgrading their skills to better serve you, our customers.

So, you may be wondering why can’t hair salons be opened for business, yet massage therapist is given the okay?

As reported in BlogTO, “Massage therapists are governed by a health regulatory body, the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario, Emily Hogeveen, a senior communications advisor and press secretary for the Ministry of Finance. The regulator sets standards for all clinics.

“The Ministry of Health has been in touch with each health regulator and requires them to implement practice standards and hygiene standards — and only once those are established, approved and communicated to their members are they allowed to open,” said Hogeveen.

Hairstylists are regulated by the Ontario College of Trades, which does not fall under the Ministry of Health's mandate.

“If we can get registered health professionals up and running and get their standards in place — the rest will follow,” said Hogeveen.

Here’s the reality - hairstylists were regulated by the Ontario College of Trades, until the Ford government disbanded it with a promise for reform under the reduction of red-tape measures. Our industry is eagerly waiting to be consulted on how to maintain and update the hairdressing and barbering license, and create new licenses for the other trades in our industry.

If our salon does not meet the requirements, our "green" sign posted in our window will change to "yellow" warning that we have to make changes and abide by the health and safety act.

Before COVID-19, we were already practicing strict safety protocols and have since been working tirelessly ensuring when our doors reopen for business, every precaution necessary will be taken to make it safe for our employees and our clients.

As a small business owner, we are a critical part of what keeps the engine of Ontario’s economy thriving. We just want our government officials to keep us in the loop.

Each week we hear more salons not being able to hang on. Many are forced to close their doors.

On June 1st, John Tory asked for full payments of property taxes when most of us are not getting the relief we should be.

How does the government expect small businesses to "just hang in there" Our voices need to be heard and they need to better understand the professional nature of our industry.

All we ask is that you let us in on your plans – so we can best manage our businesses, our hopes and dreams before they disappear.

Peter Ciardulli

Salon Smartz

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