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  • Town of Newmarket opens Personal Wellness Establishment business licence applications

    Created: Friday, February 25, 2022
    The Town of Newmarket has launched the application process for all business owners who are now required to obtain a Personal Wellness Establishment (PWE) business licence. On June 21, 2021 Newmarket Council approved the new business classification encompassing companies that offer alternative massage services, such as Shiatsu, osteopathy and Thai massage, but who are not regulated by the College of Registered Massage Therapists (RMT). The new business classification replaces the former Body-Rub Parlour regulations which underwent extensive review.  

    In order to obtain a licence, business owners in the new PWE classification are required to submit an application and supporting documents, including proof that any attendants offering services have received training.

    The application package also requires a criminal records check, proof of insurance, among other business details. A Town Licensing Officer will review the application, interview the business owner and conduct a site inspection as part of the business licence issuance process.

    “We’re working directly with the Personal Wellness Establishments in Newmarket to help them through the new process and ensure their staff have time to receive the required training, if they have not already,” says Flynn Scott, Town of Newmarket Regulatory Services Manager. “Our goal is to support these businesses through the recent regulatory changes and what we’ve heard is that they look forward to having a licence hanging in their business to show they meet the town standards.”

    In 2021, Council directed the Town of Newmarket’s Licensing Division to complete a comprehensive review of its Body-Rub Parlour By-law. As a result of this review, the Town’s Body-Rub Parlour classification of business was repealed, and a Personal Wellness Establishment (PWE) classification was adopted. The update also aimed to establish clear regulations that will strengthen enforcement initiatives against unlawful businesses that are known to exist within Newmarket

    “We heard many perspectives through the process,” says Newmarket Mayor John Taylor. “Ultimately, Council approved the new by-law in an effort to support our accredited alternative massage businesses and do what’s in our power as a municipality to help address those operating outside the law.”

    Between February and June 2021, the Town conducted extensive engagement, including:
    • An interactive virtual Public Information Center to receive resident and stakeholder feedback
    • Council Workshop and four additional touchpoints at meetings of Council (May 3, 10, June 16, 21)
    • Two online surveys generating 88 responses
    • Conversations with a variety of business owners, community advocacy groups and residents
    • Webinar presenting an initial draft of the regulations to the community in order to give stakeholders a chance to review, understand and provide feedback on the draft ahead of Council’s final review at a Special Committee of the Whole.
    • Over 39 deputations to Council throughout the process
    “Through the consultation process, we found our community of both patrons and business owners wanted to see a minimum standard of training for personal wellness attendants,” says Scott. “Our Personal Wellness Establishment licence requires attendants to have training from an accredited institute and so our residents can soon look for the licence displayed at their local massage spot and feel comforted this standard is met.”

    Following Council’s approval of the new by-law in June, the Town’s Zoning By-law was amended to outline where the Personal Wellness Establishments may be located in Town.

    Business licence applications are now open and Town licensing staff are working closely with applicants to help them through the process. Businesses will receive their proof of licence as soon as they are approved, with many in progress to receive their licence at the of end of February. Residents seeking alternative massage services can look for the licence which will be on display at the approved Personal Wellness Establishments.

    For more information on the by-law review process, visit the Town’s public engagement hub at To begin the application process, visit

    The Town of Newmarket is seeking continued feedback from interested stakeholders on the newly adopted regulations and the effects they may have on business owners, workers, and residents within the Town of Newmarket. To share comments, contact the Town’s Licensing Division directly at 905-953-5300 ext. 2221 or [email protected].