Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 11/24/2012 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Winnipeg isn't ready to replace the term "massage parlour" with "body rub centre," according to a report that fails to smooth over the differences between the city and registered therapists.
On Thursday, city council's downtown, heritage and riverbank committee will consider a plan to consider "holistic medical establishments" a form of personal service under the Downtown Zoning Bylaw.
The same plan also puts off a request from licensed massage therapists to stop applying the term "massage parlour" to establishments that offer non-therapeutic services.
Winnipeg licenses four "massage parlours," which may only operate in the downtown portion of the city. They're not allowed to have anyone under 18 on the premises and staff must wear non-transparent clothing between the neck and 10 centimetres above the knee. Massage parlours also "must not state, imply or suggest the service provided includes any form of sexual or nude entertainment," according to city rules.
In September, George Fraser of the Massage Therapy Association of Manitoba asked the city to change the name of "massage parlour" to "sex-trade establishment" or "body rub shop." The term "massage parlour" demeans trained therapists and occasionally confuses customers who unwittingly patronize establishments offering services of a sexual nature, said Fraser, a former city councillor who now represents approximately 750 registered massage therapists.
A report published Friday said the city may consider changing "massage parlour" to "body rub" centre the next time it reviews the Downtown Zoning Bylaw. Many other Canadian cities have a "body rub" licensing category, planning manager Patti Regan writes in the report.
But she also recommends no change be made to the licence in the short term, other than differentiating "holistic medical establishments" from "massage parlours."
This move grew out of a 2011 concern raised by the owners of a King Street establishment called Bliss Body Works, who complained they were forced to label their business a "massage parlour" under city rules. Although they do not employ registered massage therapists, they insisted they do not offer sexual services on the premises.
Pending council approval, the "holistic medical establishment" designation would serve as a compromise for businesses that offer "physical external manipulation of the soft tissues of the human body" but don't want to be tagged with the sex-trade connotations of the "massage parlour" tag.
Anyone wishing to open a "holistic medical establishment" would not have to obtain a city licence as long as the owners can demonstrate oversight by a professional body of some sort, Regan writes.
The owners of Bliss Body Works did not respond to requests for comment. But Fraser panned the proposed change, claiming city zoning administrators don't have the expertise to determine which holistic-medicine governing bodies are credible.
He also expressed disappointment the city will wait for a zoning-bylaw review to consider changing the term "massage parlour" to something more explicit.
"I don't know how this is going to help that situation, quite frankly," he said, pointing to the recent case of a doctor accused of writing prescriptions for "massage parlour" employees who offered sexual services in return.
"We're quite sensitive of the reference to 'massage' as a front for sexual services."
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 24, 2012 A13
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Quebec judge calls Toews to task over ignoring letter from former landlord
Parole officials impressed with progress made by Winnipeg killer
Alone at controls, co-pilot 'intentionally' destroyed plane
Buff returns to lineup against Habs tonight
CBC News cutting 144 jobs, Radio-Canada cuts 100
Air Canada changing cockpit policy
Ricki's, Bootlegger, Cleo in court protection
Aboriginal activists working to rock the vote
WAG's Inuit Art Centre receives $500-K donation
Wanted: info on trains blocking traffic
Firms shortlisted for $590 million transitway and Pembina underpass project
Over 96 per cent of Jets season ticket holders have renewed their terms
Verdict after Gladue's death sends painful message about whose lives are valued
Getting a charge out of research
Lawless in the Morning: Former NHLer Jeff O'Neill, Montreal Canadiens and help for the Jets
Kola barn fire under investigation; arson not suspected
Report of suspicious man unfounded: police
U.S. must withhold aid from Egypt
Full support for roadwork list
Optimism running low among Manitoba's small business owners: survey
The deadly, human factor
Toews' lobbying to be probed
Wildlife federation pushes for ban on spot-light hunting
High hopes for low-cost grocers
Prospect Copp to join Jets right away
Cold today and tonight, but weekend to be warmer
Saudi Arabia, allies open air campaign against Yemen rebels
Man arrested after indecent act Tuesday
How's my home, James? What the measurement means to flood-prone Winnipeg
Making friends with newcomers
This is crunch time
Teen fighting back against alleged bullying with lawsuit
Andy Kindler: something old, something new...
Price has it right
Police hide in cone of silence
Rights group presses watchdog on CSIS records
US, Iran nuke talks enter critical round ahead of deadline
14 killed in scaffolding collapse in central Vietnam