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Calgary cleans up city of illegal ‘body-rub’ centres

May 7, 2014 — Calgary police are cracking down on illegal “body-rub centres” within the city in hopes of diminishing illicit sexual activities and maintaining credibility for reputable massage therapy businesses, according to a Metro News article.

May 7, 2014  By Massage Therapy Canada staff

In 2013, a new bylaw was passed in the City of Calgary which stated that all massage practitioners had to meet the standards of a licensed massage centre or else identify themselves as a body-rub business.

All licensed massage therapists are now required to be members of one of the four recognized massage therapy associations in the province. Those who do not meet this requirement are classified as body-rub business and must have 250 hours of school training, undergo a yearly police background check and are forbidden from opening a body-rub business within 300 metres of another of its kind.

These new regulations were put in place to put an end to the tendering of sexual services for money. Kent Pallister, Calgary’s chief license inspector hopes to hinder such illegal activity by removing the massage therapy mask that many of these establishments are using as disguise.

“The illegal stuff was hiding behind massage,” said Pallister in an interview with Metro News. “Now, we’re not allowing that so easy… the vast majority of massage is totally legitimate. I think the numbers show the bylaw is stopping the clustering of body-rub businesses.”


The City of Calgary has released a report showing the number of licensed massage centres in the city has nearly doubled since the institution of the bylaw, jumping from 218 to 428. Ten businesses have declared themselves as body-rub centers while 86 people identified themselves as body-rub workers.

All massage practitioners were given until the end of last year to declare themselves as belonging to one group or the other.

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