Tattoo bylaw stings artists
Tattoo artists in Grande Prairie, Alta., are upset about a bylaw requiring them to supply a blood test and criminal record check before the city will licence them or their businesses. (QMI Agency FILES)
GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. -- Local tattoo artists and shop owners say a strict city bylaw is getting under their skin.
Bylaw C-1064 requires artists to supply a blood test and criminal record check before the city will licence them or their businesses – a process that can take up to six weeks.
Shop owners want the city to streamline the process and remove the need for blood work.
“If you look at the other professions in the city that work with blood-borne pathogens, you’re not seeing them being required to have blood work,” said Toni Snydmiller, owner of All the Rage Tattoos. “It’s an archaic thought that all tattoo artists are of the lowlife type.”
“The purpose of the bylaw at the time (of its inception) probably had to do with community safety,” said Chris Manuel, enforcement services director for the City of Grande Prairie. “I would expect that the perception was that this is the best way to make the industry as safe as possible and prevent any transmission of any potential infection between a tattooist and a client.”
Manuel adds that the city has allowed artists who have not met the blood work requirements to still obtain licences.
The requirement for blood work gives the city extra information in the case of a condition that would put clients in imminent danger.
“If that was the case, it would allow the city to deny an application,” said Manuel. “It would give us the option, but presently that practice isn’t in place because there is no definite impact on public safety.”
Manuel said the bylaw will be reviewed further and may be overhauled.
The city currently issues temporary permits to businesses waiting out the long turnaround time for licences.