Reopening of Ontario Strip Clubs and the Importance of Consulting Strippers

Read our full statement below

Work Safe Twerk Safe was founded to advocate for strippers’ rights- the right to work in safety and dignity, this includes the right to be consulted in matters of our occupational health and safety.

While it is important that the Toronto clubs appear to be interested in enforcing rules that support public health, we want to stress that these measures do not adequately address our concerns about reopening safely.

Namely, under the new guidelines brought forth by the province, clubs are required to submit a Safety Plan and implement it. There is no way to tell how the Safety Plans will be implemented or who will be implementing them; we fear that based on past practice of strip clubs delegating cleaning areas of the club to strippers, that we will be the ones tasked with implementing all or parts of the Safety Plan- a plan that we were never consulted on.

We believe the norm in the strip club industry should center around the workers’ concerns. To this end, Work Safe Twerk Safe is conducting our own community consultation, in which we are asking a broad range of strippers to give meaningful input as to what they need to feel safe at work in the context of the pandemic. This consultation is different from our judicial review, which is still continuing.

We want to point out that strippers, and sex workers more broadly are deeply invested in keeping themselves, and by extension the broader community healthy and safe. For example, strippers have been early adopters of hand sanitiser, which we’ve been using for many years before the pandemic.

In short, once again, strippers have been left out of the conversation about how to reopen clubs safely. A Safety Plan developed without consulting the workers, workers who are classified as independent contractors and have a real fear of being fired for raising concerns to owners or management doesn’t sound very safe at all. Nothing about us without us!

October 2, 2021 addendum: While you’re here, consider donating to our ongoing efforts to get the government to consult strippers. Learn about the judicial review we are undertaking for this purpose here, and our first win here. See our factum for our judicial review here. Donate here! And stay tuned for our release of the results from the above-mentioned survey.

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