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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

It's About Time Strip Club Managers In Toronto Be Licensed & More Accountable


Strip club video cameras, managers on city radar
TORONTO - Citing safety concerns, a city committee has moved to license the people who run Toronto strip clubs and firm up rules surrounding video cameras in those bars.
Councillors on Tuesday called for cameras in strip clubs to be clearly marked and that they not be installed in washrooms or change areas.
Surveillance camera footage must only be used for security purposes, according to the recommendations passed by the city's licensing and standards committee.
Committee chairman Cesar Palacio said the regulatory framework will ensure accountability and allow the city to hold managers who allow underaged or intoxicated customers into their bars responsible.
It will "make sure that the health and safety of the entertainers, the employees and those who work there are not compromised in any way," he said.
City council will have final say on the plan.
However, a number of club managers who addressed the committee Tuesday said they had not received adequate notice of the changes and asked for a deferral.
Strip club manager Derek Simpson said he already needs to be a licensed Smart Serve bartender and security guard for his job. He asked why bar managers in other sectors won't be treated the same way?
"It kind of feels like discrimination just because our clubs offer adult entertainment," he told the committee.
But Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker said licensing managers will ensure that no one with a criminal record, including violent crimes or sexual assaults, will be a manager at a city strip club.
It will also allow the city to know the real names of strip club managers -- something that's not currently required.
"Are these the people we want in charge of a situation I think most people would say can be very exploitative," said De Baeremaeker. "The police should know when they're going into that strip club, who is running it."
If passed, club managers would have to pay $360 when applying for a licence and a renewal fee of $254 annually.
Angela Bruni, who has been an exotic dancer in the city for 20 years, told the committee she supports the changes. Some bar managers can be "controlling and abusive" and have access to dancers' personal information without having to offer up their own identities, she said.
"We need them to be licensed," she said. "We want them to be accountable."
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