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Ontario Tattoo Association


Register via PayPal or donate!
Membership is open to anyone, even non professionals and non tattooers.

We are not affiliated with the government
. We are a group of tattoo artists and indrustry professionals that is interested in getting together others and groups that are involved in the tattoo business.

ALL BUSINESSES, INCLUDING TATTOO SHOPS NOW need a licence to operate in Ontario. The BodySafe Program is now in effect in the GTA as of July 1st 2014.

Please send us a copy of your last health inspection and/or local license when registering (if applicable).

Latest regulations and licensing information News, reviews and more
Tattoo professional members and shops More water and other issues

Email us:
Ontario Tattoo Association
Annual Member Rates

Shop Memberships include all staff.
Include your name and shop with payment, including shop name and a copy of your last health inspection.

You can make a contribution or a donation to help the OTA here

Help us "Keep Ontario Beautiful".
Join or support the OTA NOW!

We would like to thank all of our members and friends for helping out at the NIX Tattoo Show in Toronto and supporting the OTA. We would also like to thank Jacqueline Beach from the APT for helping us at the booth AND for doing a great seminar. Support the APT - Follow us on Facebook: The Ontario and Toronto Tattoo Association, ontariotattoo and torontotattoo on Instagram.

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Toronto Public Health, infection control: - Official Link
Nix Tattoo Fest n#14
Join today - membership information Members Only Tattoo Business Member shops and Businesses
Seven Crown's 'Cautionary Tales' Art Show Calgary 2012 Photo Gallery The 'Colossal' Art Show at Sinful Inflictions
'The Dead Things 2' Art Show at Citrus City 'The Dead Things 2' Art Show more pics
-A non-profit group dedicated to promoting excellence in the Tattoo Arts -
Latest Health Department Regulations: Water and tattoo ink concerns in North America - also the latest on licensing.
Attention tattoo artists, tattoo professionals and studio owners - please read and answer a brief survey
Welcome to the website for the OTA - The Ontario Tattoo Association
In association with The Greater Toronto Tattoo Association -
Photos from The Calgary Tattoo and Arts Festival now up @
Coverage of Northern Ink Xposure XIV presented and hosted by
It was an amazing show, we can't wait until next year!
The Latest Health Department Regulations - Tattoo Business - Photo Galleries - Articles

Improtant and useful links

Toronto Public Health, infection control guidelines:
Ontario Public Health Standards: Goverment of Ontario
Ontario Public Health Unit Locations and contact information
Public Health Ontario - Agency for Health Protection and Promotion - frontpage
Ontario Public Health - Minstry of Health and Long Term Care - frontpage
E-Laws - Ontario Government - Main index
E-Laws - Ontario Government - Health Protection and Promotion Act
Our Mission is to promote good, clean tattooing. Working with and educating professionals, the public and government about the latest on what is being done by industry and organizations to address concerns of infection control and related issues. And to continue to promote and advance the quality of all aspects of tattoo artistry by assisting in the exchange of ideas and information between individuals and government.
The Ontario Tattoo Association was formed by artists, industry professionals and collectors, to openly share information and to enhance communication between professionals, collectors and government regarding recommendations or legislation. We feel passionate about tattooing being held to a high industry standard, while addressing proposed government regulations for Personal Service Settings.
Come on all you professional, established tattoo artists, shop owners and even collectors, stand up and be counted. At this time we are also accepting industry professionals and collectors. Show your support for GOOD CLEAN TATTOOS in Ontario now and in the future. Tattoo Licensing is coming. We may have some input in spring 2012, know the facts, get involved now.
If you would like to be listed on this website, please email your name, shop name (if you want your shop listed), how long you've been tattooing, years as a shop, website etc. and the date of your last health inspection. If you have not received a health inspection and are doing tattooing (or any other service that involves bodily fluids), please contact your local public health agency IMMEDIATELY to schedule an inspection. Email: with list or support in the subject line. Please include your shop name and a bit about yourself.

At this time, meetings and email updates must be approved, however if you feel you should be included and have something to contribute, please let us know. Feel free to contact us at any time with any RELEVANT questions, concerns or information.
IMPORTANT PLEASE READ FIRST-EXPLANATION OF TERMS AND GOVERNMENT AGENCIES: Toronto Public Health (TPH) is composed of medical professionals, civilian employees and consultants under the supervision of the Medical Officer of Health (MOH). TPH reports to the Board of Health (BOH) a group comprised of 6 elected city councillors, 6 appointed civilians and one school trustee. Provincial law states that "Routine inspections are required for all personal service settings at least once a year by the MOH for each health unit or their designate." TPH and BOH receive funding and direction from the Provincial Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. Most of our directives/recommendations for infection control procedures are established at a provincial level and interpreted/implemented by TPH.


  Follow us on facebook, get involved.

In the summer of 2011 artist Stu Kay of and Northern Ink Xposure was approached by Toronto Public Health Inspector Carola Ostach about licensing of personal services (including tattooing) and put in contact with Barbara Hansen, a health promotion consultant of the Toronto Public Policy Directorate division of Toronto Public Health. Stu was sent a questionaire which he then forwarded to fellow industry professionals for review. On August 21st a meeting took place at Seven Crowns Tattoo in Toronto, in attendance were:

  • Stu Kay of Lower East Side Tattoo Abstract Arts, & Northern Ink Exposure (Toronto convention)
  • Damian McGrath of Northern Ink Exposure (Toronto convention) and
  • Jamie Izumi of Tora Tattoo
  • Dr. John Goodhew GP
  • David Naughton of Great Canadian Tattoo Company
  • David Smedley of Great Canadian Tattoo Company
  • Bill Read of Abstract Arts
  • Mark Naraine of Abstract Arts, and Lower East Side Tattoo
  • Matthew Ellis of Seven Crowns Tattoo
  • George Brown of Seven Crowns Tattoo

This group agreed to form The Greater Toronto Tattoo Association (GTTA). We have since started to contact our peers in the community to join us.

We now have a non profit parent corporation called The Ontario Tattoo Association. Licensing target date, now January 1st 2013.

Continued: Important links and files

    Attention tattoo artists, tattoo professionals and studio owners please read and answer a brief survey

Below, an open letter to Tattoo Artists, Industry Professionals and Others:

An open letter:

Dear Tattoo Shop Owner/Operator:

As you may or may not be aware, the City of Toronto is about to enact legislation regarding the operation of Personal Service Settings (PSS), which include but are not limited to, tattoo and piercing establishments, nail salons and electrolysis clinics. The legislation proposes to

a) license all PSS where there is a risk of infectious disease transmission;
b) require a public health inspection prior to the opening of all new PSS operations;
c) require PSS operators of premises where there is the risk of infectious disease transmission to post inspection results;
d) require PSS to comply with the Medical Officer of Health's infection and control recommendations; and,
e) require infection prevention and control training for PSS operators (developed by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care).

As Tattoo Artists, we of course wish to work with the cooperation and endorsment of our local health authorities, for the benefit of our clients, for the health and safety of the general public and for the ongoing growth and recognition of tattooing as an art form. The proposed legislation, however well intentioned, raises some serious concerns within our community for a number of reasons. The first of these is the issue of licensing. Initially, Toronto Public Health stated that the sole purpose of licensing was to allow health inspectors to identify the location of tattoo shops and to ensure that they were inspected on a timely, regular basis. An online poll conducted on behalf of Toronto Public Health as part of their stakeholder consultation process however, indicates that the issuing of a license and license renewal will be contingent on compliance with health inspection recommendations. Licensing will be administered by Municipal Licensing and Standards, an entirely different branch of municipal government, which may be empowered to enact other, as yet undisclosed controls of the licensing process. It is imperitive that we, as a community, insist that licenses shall be issued unconditionally, and used only to identify the location of tattoo establishments for inspection purposes. It is our position that there is no such thing as a license to create art.

With regard to the proposal that PSS operators post inspection results we are generally in agreement. It is our understanding however, that the intended model will be based on the existing "DineSafe" program, which issues green (pass) yellow (conditional) or red (fail) postings. A yellow, or conditional pass sign displayed would be a literal kiss of death for any tattoo establishment. It has been our experience over the past few years that health inspections have been conducted by individuals who, by the nature of the questions they ask, often indicate that they know little or nothing about the tattooing process. There has been little or no communication from Toronto Public Health with regard to newly added protocols or inspection requirements, and a number of us have noted a wide range of inconsistancy in the enforcment and understanding of existing regulations on the part of health inspectors. All of these factors, combined with apparently ever increasing inspection criteria almost guarantee conditional or yellow passes. It is our position therefore, that inspection result postings be limited to pass or fail, and that the criteria for these designations be limited to critical issues where the health and safety of the client is reasonably at risk. (improper sterilization, lack of barrier control, improper skin prep, unsanitary conditions, etc.)

The requirement to comply with the Medical Officer of Health's infection prevention and control recommendations seems, at face value to be a logical and reasonable proposition, and most of us already unquestioningly abide with existing regulations or recommendations. What is problematic with this proposal is that there is no limit placed in the proposed legislation as to what these recommendations may be in the future, essentially giving Toronto Public Health absolute, unfettered control over virtually every aspect of our operations not already controlled by the previously mentioned Municipal Licensing and Standards Dept. If this legislation is passed in its current form, we will not be permitted to question or dispute anything Toronto Public Health demands we do, regardless of how ridiculous or unnecessary simply because "it's the law." For this reason, we propose that the legislation be amended to read "require PSS operators to comply with the Medical Officer of Health's infection prevention and control recommendations where there is a reasonable and demonstrable risk to the health and safety of the client or of the spread of communicable disease." This will allow us, as operators and artists, to have some input over the imposition of regulations that may not be critical to the interest of client safety, but are more focused on theoretical possibilities rather than realistic probabilities, or the protection of health units from potential liability.

Most of us, as artists, simply wish to be left in peace to continue our work and focus on what we do best. It is an unfortunate side effect of the growth of our chosen art form and the proliferation of tattoo shops throughout the GTA and for that matter throughout the world, that legitimate concerns over safety and regulation will be raised by various levels of government. It is important at this stage to demand involvement in whatever regulatory process unfolds, or we will have no voice in determining our future.

Please contact us at:

Licensing target date is January 1st 2013
Toronto Public Health is working on a follow up report regarding Personal Services Settings (PSS) that is expected to go to the Board of Health in early 2012 (January or February). You can check the agendas, decisions and minutes for Board of Health meetings online here:
Below is the schedule, directly from the TPH (Toronto Public Health) as obtained by The Greater Toronto Tattoo Association

So far, the consultation process has been comprised of the following methods for input by the roughly 3,000 Personal Services Settings (PSS) operators in Toronto:

May-June, 2011 - Key informant interviews with roughly 20 representatives from PSS sectors (aesthetics educators and operators, electrolysis association, tattoo and piercing owners/operators). These representatives provided feedback on the "Discussions Questions" document, which initiated TPH's consultation process, and to which you and other of your colleagues responded.

July, 2011 - To ensure anonymity and confidentiality of stakeholder input, a research company (external to Toronto Public Health (TPH) and the City of Toronto), Ipsos-Reid, was hired to develop and implement the additional methods for gathering stakeholder input.

October/November 2011 - a letter was sent to the TPH data base of roughly 3000 PSS owners/operators inviting them to participate in an on-line survey (through Ipsos-Reid), to provide anonymous and confidential feedback on the proposed changes to the City of Toronto by-law. The findings from this survey will be summarized in a report from Ipsos-Reid in December 2011.

October/November 2011 - the TPH web page invites written submission from anyone who wants to comment:

November 2011 - focus groups will be conducted with participants selected through a random selection process from the data base of 3,000 PSS providers. This enables Ipsos-Reid to surface the opinions from a more varied group who have not already been involved in other consultation components. Findings from the focus group discussions will be summarized in a report from Ipsos-Reid in December 2011.

Early 2012 - a TPH report that is informed by the findings from the stakeholder/community consultation process will go to the Board of Health (BOH) in early 2012, and any interested parties will have the opportunity to make a deputation when the item is on the BOH agenda.