Tattooing and Body Piercing in Niagara

Tattooing and body piercing is not a regulated profession in Ontario. Licensing does not exist to ensure that individuals and business are safe, competent and knowledgeable.

Despite some locations claiming to be "Health Department Approved", Niagara Region Public Health does not issue approvals, certifications or licences. We only inspect the premises to ensure they meet health regulations.

Changes to the Health Protection and Promotion Act

The Ministry of Health and Long-term Care passed amendments to the Health Protection and Promotion Act, which includes the following provision:

Eyeball with gem on it and man with an eye tattooed blue

Tattoos and Jewellery of the Eye

18.1 (1) No person shall sell, offer for sale or provide any of the following:

  • Scleral tattooing
  • Implantation of eye jewellery under the conjunctiva

As of May 1, 2018, no person, other than a regulated health professional, can sell, offer for sale or provide eye tattooing or implant eye jewellery.

It is an offence to provide scleral tattooing or implantation of eye jewellery under the conjunctiva.

Home-based Tattoo and Piercing Locations

Some tattoo and piercing businesses that operate in homes or other locations have never been inspected by Public Health.

To ensure that you are receiving service from a Public Health inspected premise, ask the business owner/operator to show you their last Personal Services Settings Inspection Report.

You can also contact Public Health at 905-688-8248 ext. 7269 or 1-888-505-6074 to determine if or when a premise was inspected.

Risks of an Unsafe Tattoo or Piercing

Any time the skin is broken there could be health risks. Specific risks from unclean tattoo and piercing equipment include:

  • HIV
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Bacterial infections
  • Tetanus

Hepatitis B vaccination is strongly recommended before getting a tattoo or piercing.

Things to Look for When Considering a Tattoo or Piercing

Experienced tattoo and body piercing artists will be willing to show you how they are lowering the risk of infection. Credible artists will also take the time to answer any questions you may have.

There are many things you can look into at your chosen tattoo and piercing studio, including:

  • The studio's latest autoclave test results
  • A hand washing sink, surface disinfectants and skin antiseptics are all present
  • Sterile needles are opened in front of you and thrown out in a 'sharps' container
  • Only fresh ink is used and poured into disposable caps
  • The artist always wears disposable gloves and changes them after touching anything that might not be sterile
  • Items such as razors, ink caps and swabs are being used and then thrown out
  • Only sterile dressings are placed over the tattoo/pierced area
  • Aftercare instructions are discussed with you

It's also imporant to ensure that you and the artist are not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Some drugs can cause bleeding, interfere with healing and impair judgment.

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