Tattoo and Piercing Businesses

Public Health is required by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to inspect all personal service settings at least once a year and to conduct a follow-up investigation if there is a complaint.

Ontario Regulation 136/18: Personal Services Settings includes specific requirements for cleaning of tools and equipment, surface finishes, hand wash sinks and record keeping. Services such as ear candling/coning are prohibited as is the use of live animals in treatments such as fish pedicures.

For more information on Ontario Regulation 136/18 and how it affects your business, call Health Protection and Investigation at 519-575-4400.

Inspection results are available online on Check it! We inspect it

Opening/Re-opening Service

If you are planning to open or re-open a new or renovated site, you are required to notify Public Health by submitting the following form:

Personal Service Settings Notice of Operation

Preventing Infection
Service providers at a tattoo and/or piercing business can prevent infection if they:
  • Wash hands before and after each client or whenever there is an interruption in service.
  • Use personal protective equipment when needed (for example, gloves)
  • Discard single-use tools and instruments after each client
  • Clean and disinfect re-usable tools and instruments properly
  • Keep records of accidental blood and/or body fluids exposure
  • Decline service to clients with a skin/or fungal infection
Tools and Instruments
Use single-use, pre-packaged, pre-sterilized needles. Open sterile packaging immediately before beginning a procedure in front of the client.

Discard used needles/sharps into a puncture-resistant, leak-proof container with a tight-fitting lid. It must be properly labelled with a biohazard sign.

Discard single-use tools and equipment including ink caps, ink, stencils, sterile and pre-packaged needles, gloves after each client.

Reusable tools and instruments such as forceps, needle bars, grips and tubes must be cleaned, disinfected and sterilized as required.

Service Requirements
During an Inspection

The inspector will observe and question infection-prevention practices and check the premises and equipment to ensure the health of clients and staff is not being put at risk.

The operator will receive a copy of the inspection report once the inspection is complete. The report will indicate corrective action(s) that are required and a date by which the correction is expected.

A re-inspection may be conducted to verify recommendations are in place.

If a serious problem is identified during an inspection — one that poses an immediate health risk to the client or the provider — the facility may be ordered to close or stop providing a service until the problem is fixed.

Accidental Exposure

The tools used in tattoo and piercing business often come into contact with blood and other body fluids.

Take the following steps when an accidental exposure occurs:

  • Wear single-use gloves prior to handling or dressing the wound
  • Wash the affected area with water and soap (preferably a germicidal soap solution) for a minimum of 20 seconds
  • If the area is bleeding, allow it to bleed freely. Styptic pencils should not be used to stop the flow of blood
  • After cleaning the wound apply a skin antiseptic and cover with a clean dressing or bandage
  • If there has been a splash onto a mucous membrane, flush the area thoroughly with water
  • The person exposed should be advised to seek medical attention
  • Document all incidents in the Accidental Exposure Incident Report Form
  • Keep incident records on site for a minimum of one year and on file for a minimum of five years
  • Dispose of any single-use items used during the procedure.
  • Clean and disinfect work surfaces and any reusable instruments used during the procedure.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after cleaning up.
Additional Resources

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