The City of Regina has brought forward its recommended approach on regulating body rub parlours for the consideration of council.

In December 2018, council directed administration to develop a report on regulating body rub establishments. The report was revealed by the city Wednesday.

The city says the priorities of these recommendations are ‘safety-related’ and include ensuring workers’ health and safety along with protecting the city’s neighbourhoods.

The recommended approach would continue to allow body rub establishments to operate as discretionary use in industrial zones and add it as a discretionary use in “major arterial commercial zones” including Albert St. and Victoria Ave. although the city says none of the current 20 suspected body rub parlours in the city currently comply with zoning rules.

It would also better define the difference between therapeutic massage and massage parlours by calling them “body rub establishments”, implementing a one block separation distance for the parlours from schools, churches, daycares and other body rub establishments and the development of a licensing program.

Diana Hawryluk, the Executive Director of City Planning and Community Development with the city says it’s partially about making enforcement easier to carry out for both the city and police.

“It’s one of those things that when we have those rules in place that we can go into and follow, we don’t have that ability right now,” Hawryluk said at a briefing at City Hall Wednesday morning. “We have to get evidentiary proof that they’re operating differently than what the use is.”

“Currently if they just say ‘we’re giving massages’ we would have to get proof that what’s happening behind those closed doors is actually different than just a massage.”

Superintendent Corey Zaharuk with the Regina Police Service echoes the city’s view, adding a similar approach in Saskatoon has worked for that city.

“20 to me are 20 locations where we don’t have a good picture of what’s happening there,” Zaharuk said. “The degree of sexual exploitation and or human trafficking or even its presence there, I can’t really tell you because I don’t have the resources to tackle all of these establisments.”

“We want to regulate them, we want to work with these owners to make sure that everyone is safe inside.”

The city held workshops with residents and also consulted workers and owners of body rub shops to help develop the recommendations.

The report is on the Executive Committee agenda for June 12, and is expected to go before council later this month.

CTV Regina's Cole Davenport is at the executive committee meeting