I’ll probably catch a night or two on the couch for this one

Last week, the City announced it was undertaking a review of the Adult Entertainment By-Law.  First, let us just acknowledge, this City validly and legally licences “Adult Entertainment” and by that, we all know this means Strip Clubs, Body Rub Parlors, XXX Movie stores and of course, “toys” used “dans la boudoir!”

The proposed amendments, in broad strokes (pardon me ma’am), are:

  • The Addition of two (2) new Licences:
    • in addition to requiring that the owners of these establishments hold a valid licence, the City will now require that “Operators” hold a licence as well;
    • The “Entertainers” will require a licence as well;
  • A new requirement that either the “Owner” or a licensed “Operator” must be on premises at all times;
  • The expansion of the Adult Video Store licence requirements, together with the creation of two (2) categories of Adult Merchandise licence for stores:
    • Class A  – where the principal business is adult merchandise, and;
    • Class B  – where adult merchandise is less than 10 per cent of the total area devoted to the display of all merchandise.

Now, my research on this has not been extensive (mostly because my wife has never and will never buy the old “I was there doing research” excuse), but my usual gut reaction of “stay out of the way of business” is, in a rare circumstance, swayed in favor of supporting this By-Law.

To expand, let me explain that I spent many years as a criminal defence lawyer, and I am pretty confident in asserting that the body rub parlors and strip clubs will be doing just fine under this By-Law from a cost benefit point of view. The new licences won’t cost enough money to make a difference to the Owners, and will just be a nuisance to the Entertainers, but more on them in a minute.

The brick and mortar stores are really the only ones who will be bothered in any appreciable fashion, and for most, this amendment will be more or less a bureaucratic mosquito: annoying while it buzzes, with no significant impact on business. It may, for a few, be the tipping point in their battle against online retailers of the same merchandise, but I somewhat suspect the City will be just as happy to see the “Aren’t We Naughty” and “Cupid’s Boutique” stores move out of the City Limits for reasons of prudence alone.

So, while normally I would call this a blatant cash grab and tell the City where it can put its restrictive By-Laws (pardon me again ma’am), in this case, I have to say, there is one reason why I think we need this amendment, and why we need to more strictly enforce the By-Law.  As a City, we need to do better at identifying and giving assistance to those involved in, or at risk of being dragged into, the sex trafficking trade, which predominantly affect women and often minors. If the new licencing requirements for “Entertainers” is used for that purpose in any way, then this amendment will be a positive one.

 

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