Personal Services Settings

Personal Services Settings Inspection Reports

Attention! New Provincial Personal Services Settings Regulation!

A new Ontario Personal Service Setting (PSS) Regulation 136/18 has been developed by the Ministry of Health & Long Term Care (MOHLTC). Please visit the MOHLTC's website to see how this new PSS regulation 136/18 applies to your business and the services that you offer.

If you have any questions or concerns about the new regulation and how it applies to you, please contact your Public Health Inspector or Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744.

New Ontario Personal Service Setting Regulation 

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) has developed a new Ontario Personal Service Setting Regulation 136/18 under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.  Ottawa Public Health is supporting business owners and operators by providing a brief summary of some of the changes that will take effect on July 1, 2018. Please note that this summary does not include all changes to practice as a result of O. Reg. 136/18. Visit the MOHLTC website for the complete version of the regulation at

Who does this apply to?

This new regulation applies to all Personal Service Settings within Ontario. Personal Service Settings include any premise where personal services are offered. Examples of services offered at Personal Service Settings include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Hairdressing & Barbering
  • Tattooing
  • Body Piercing
  • Nail Services
  • Electrolysis
  • Other Aesthetic Services

Personal Service Settings include those in vehicles or at special events. (O. Reg. 136/18, Section 2).

Personal Services may also include “invasive procedures” that involve the introduction of equipment or instruments into the body or body cavities, by cutting, puncturing or otherwise entering intact skin or mucous membranes. (O. Reg. 136/18, Section 1)

Notice to Operate

The Health Unit must be notified in writing, at least 14 days prior to initiating services, of the intention to operate a new Personal Service Setting. The notice must include the following:

  • The name and location of the intended Personal Service Setting.
  • The name and contact information of the person intending to operate the Personal Service Setting.
  • A list of the personal services that will be provided at the Personal Service Setting.

If an operator wishes to provide additional personal services, the Health Unit must be notified in writing, at least 14 days before providing additional services. (O. Reg. 136/18, Section 3)

Prohibited Services

The following personal services shall not be sold, offered for sale, or provided at a Personal Service Setting:

  • Ear candling or coning.
  • Any personal service involving live aquatic species, including fish pedicures.
  • Scleral tattooing
  • Implantation of eye jewelry under the conjunctiva. (HPPA, Section 18.1)

Setting Requirements

Personal Service Settings must be free of any condition that could pose a health hazard or affect the sanitary operations of the Personal Service Setting. Requirements for Personal Service Settings include the following:

  • If a Personal Service Setting is located in a home, the room where personal services are being provided must not be used as part of the dwelling.
  • At least one sink must be dedicated for handwashing.
  • If reusable equipment is used, there must be an additional sink that is not the handwashing sink. (Ont. Reg. 136/18, Section 8)


Immediately discard any single-use equipment or instruments after they are used. Examples include nail files, buffing blocks, pumice stones, straight razor blades and wax sticks. Personal storage of single use items is no longer permitted. (Ont. Reg. 136/18, Section 10)


All disinfectants must have a drug identification number (DIN) or natural product number (NPN) assigned by Health Canada.

All disinfectants must be used as per the manufacturer’s instructions, where available. The only exception is chlorine bleach/sodium hypochlorite. (Ont. Reg. 136/18, Section 11)


If you have any questions or concerns regarding the new regulation, please contact a Public Health Inspector at Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744. 

What is a Personal Services Setting (PSS)

As part of its mandate under the Ontario Public Health Standards, 2018 and the Infection Prevention and Control Protocol, 2018, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) inspects Personal Services Settings (PSS) to monitor infection prevention and control practices. Our objective is to minimize the risk of blood-borne/other types of infections during the delivery of personal services. PSS refer to settings in which aesthetic services are delivered, such as but not limited to:

  • Manicures & Pedicures
  • Body piercing & ear lobe piercing
  • Make-up application
  • Aesthetics (waxing or facials)
  • Hairstyling & Barbering
  • Tattooing & Micro-blading
  • Massage
  • Tanning
  • Body modification (branding, scarification etc.)
  • Electrolysis & Laser hair removal
  • Microdermabrasion

Public health inspectors (PHIs) at Ottawa Public Health (OPH) routinely inspect these establishments to ensure that owners and operators operate their business in accordance with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care's Ontario Regulation 136/18: Personal Services Settings to prevent the spread of blood-borne pathogens or infections.

Residents are urged to consider their own personal safety before obtaining personal services. To learn more about what to look for in a specific service before and during their appointment, OPH is asking that residents review the following factsheets:

Residents are also encouraged to look for a certificate - issued by OPH - that ensures the premises has been inspected by a Public Health Inspector. They can visit the Personal Services Settings Inspection Results to review the most recent inspection history of all PSS in Ottawa. 

Operating your Business
Before opening a new business or taking over an existing business, contact Ottawa Public Health at least 14 day before commencing operation at (613-580-6744). Provide the name and address of your business and details of the types of services that will be offered.  At this time, you will be asked to provide copies of your floor plan if possible.
1. Contact Ottawa Public Health
Get a copy of the MOHLTC O. Reg. 136/18: Personal Service Setting and Ottawa Public Health factsheets to ensure that you are able to meet the infection prevention and control requirements. 
2. Workers' Responsibilities
Workers are required to comply with IPAC procedures O. Reg. 136/18: Personal Service Setting while performing services and when using sharps. Routine practices such as hand washing, glove use, and sometimes face protection, are in place to prevent and control the transmission of infections where required.
3. General Requirements

Your business must be:

  • Clean, well lit and kept in good repair.
  • All surfaces such as (counters, tables, trays, lamps, magnifiers) and shelving units in storage areas must be smooth, non-absorbent and easily cleanable.
  • All floors, walls and ceiling must be non-absorbent, clean and in good repair.
  • Reusable instruments must be stored in a clean container and kept separate from dirty instruments and equipment
  • Clean instruments and equipment must be stored separately from dirty instruments and equipment.
  • Single use disposable instruments must be disposed of in a proper manner and immediately after use
  • No double dipping!
4. Cleaning and Disinfecting and Sterilization

All work surfaces must be cleaned and disinfected using at least a low level disinfectant between each client or as required.  All reusable instruments and equipment must be cleaned and disinfected or sterilized (depending on the service provided) after each use. Please see ‘Module 4’ of the course provided below for more information.

5. Records
Businesses that offer procedures that break the skin such as ear piercing, body piercing, tattooing, micropigmentation, electrolysis and acupuncture, must keep records on-site and accessible. All records must be kept on-site for a minimum of one year and on file for a minimum of two years.
6. Instruments and Equipment

All instruments and equipment must be durable, in good repair and stored in a sanitary manner to avoid contamination.  Don’t forget that any instruments or equipment that are handled or used during a procedure is considered contaminated.

  • Single-use items and instruments made from absorbent material such as foam, paper, wood, etc. thatcannot be adequately cleaned and disinfected must be thrown out immediately after each client use.
  • Re-usable instruments or equipment made from non- absorbent materials such as surgical stainless steel, fiberglass, plastic etc., are able to withstand repeated cleaning and disinfection or sterilization between uses.
If your business uses sharps, i.e. needles, lancets, razors, etc. items must be maintained sterile until point of use, handled minimally and disposed of in an approved sharps container immediately after use.
7. Sinks

Your business must be equipped with 2 sinks, one for reprocessing  instruments and one for hand washing.

All handwashing sinks must have:

  • A supply of liquid soap and single-use hand towels (cloth or paper) in dispensers.

All sinks must have:

  • A constant supply of hot and cold running water under pressure must always be available at all sinks.
8. Sterilization Equipment

Some instruments that come into contact with items that are used to break the skin such equipment used in body piercing, and tattooing (i.e open ended receiving tubes, forceps) can be reprocessed using an autoclave. Note: under no circumstances can sharps be reprocessed. It is your responsibility to make sure that the sterilization monitoring requirements outlined in the O. Reg. 136/18: Personal Service Setting are followed at all times.

9. Laundry Requirements

All laundered items must be stored in a manner to prevent contamination and kept separate from dirty or used linens.

•    Towels and linens can be laundered on-site or by a licensed laundry service.

•    All linens, towels or sheets used during a service must be laundered before you can reuse them. Use hot water and chlorine in the washing machine and the hot air setting on the dryer.

Piercing Devices

Ear lobe piercing and body piercing, can put you at risk of blood borne infections and contracting diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Ottawa Public Health would like to advise people who choose to provide piercing services, of the O. Reg. 136/18: Personal Service Setting

Mechanical ear lobe piercing guns, instruments or devices which insert the earring by use of "spring-loaded" piercing devices or models that are squeezed by hand pressure, can only be used to pierce the lobe or fleshy part of the ear.

Piercing the upper ear (cartilage area), or any other part of the body other than the lobe of the ear is not permitted with these mechanical devices. People who choose to have any other part of their ear or body pierced are advised to seek the services of a body piercer.

Prohibited Services

Certain services are now prohibited under O. Reg. 136/18: Personal Service Setting these include:

  • Ear candling or coning
  • Any personal service involving live aquatic species, including fish pedicures.

In addition, under the Health Protection and Promotion Act no person, other than a regulated health professional, sells, offers for sale, or provides

  • Scleral tattooing (tattooing of the eye).
  • Implantation of eye jewellery under the conjunctiva.

Information Update:

September 13, 2019: Medical devices must be approved by Health Canada, including needle-free dermal filler devices used for cosmetic skin treatments, these devices are not authorized in Canada and may pose health risks.

“To date, Health Canada has not licenced any needle-free dermal filler devices in Canada as manufacturers of these devices have not provided safety, quality and supporting clinical effectiveness data for Health Canada’s review and consideration. Labels and instructions have also not been reviewed.”

Additional information can be found by visiting the Health Canada website.

Contact Us