Improving cosmetology image

Shuswap resident president of non-profit B.C. group to address health and safety complaints in the cosmetology and spa industry.

Dee Lewis is president of the Estheticians and Spa Professionals Association of B.C.

Dee Lewis is president of the Estheticians and Spa Professionals Association of B.C.

A non-profit group is hoping to restore credibility to the esthetics and spa industry in B.C.

In 2003, the provincial government deregulated the cosmetology industry, a move that meant  licensing and certification to practise were no longer required, and schools can determine their own curricula, since there is no legislation or standardization.

“There have been many health and safety complaints from the public about the industry,” says Dee Lewis, former owner of Deeco and president of the Estheticians and Spa Professionals Association of B.C. (E-SPABC), of which she is founding president.

Lewis says she was asked to represent the North Okanagan on a provincial personal service industry committee in 2005.

The offshoot of that committee that finished their work and dissolved last July, was E-SPABC, a group whose goal is to address current problems and strengthen the industry by supporting individuals and lobbying for positive change.

“It’s long overdue, we would still like to see re-regulation and licensing, but this is second best,” says Lewis, who notes Victoria clearly wants the industry to regulate itself. “The province wants to see a strength in the numbers and we need to grow the association.”

Lewis hoped that would happen Sunday when the society debuted at the Esthetique SPA International (ESI) Trade Show in Vancouver.

“For B.C. to be able to join the world’s stage in this booming industry, we need to join together as professionals and prove ourselves, as world-class individuals,” says Lucy Griffith, E-SPABC vice-president. “Our industry in B.C. has been uncontrolled and disregarded, which is why standards have slipped. We want to build this industry to make it safe and exceptional for our clients, our school graduates and our experienced estheticians and therapists.”

Lewis, meanwhile, was confident last Friday that the launch of the non-profit society would be successful.

Since the group posted in August, 2011, there have been an average of 80 hits per day and volunteers who had signed up to roll out the new society included students, family members, professionals and Consumer Protection B.C.

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