Should clowns, magicians and shopping-mall Santas be licensed?
Published Wednesday, March 6, 2013 8:40AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, March 6, 2013 12:36PM EST
Children’s entertainers are raising concerns about a proposed bylaw that would make Brampton, Ont. the first and only Canadian municipality to recommend licensing clowns, magicians and shopping-mall Santas.
While the move is applauded by many in the industry, some performers are worried about how such a bylaw would be enforced in a single city, as children’s entertainers often find themselves travelling across municipal boundaries for their work.
Vice President of Clowns Canada Inc. Shelly Summers says any licensing requirement should be made at a provincial or federal level to avoid any potential confusion.
“We’re not sure if the licensing is only if you live in Brampton or perform in Brampton and live somewhere else,” Summers told CTV’s Canada AM on Wednesday. “Nothing has been discussed regarding fees or how it will be policed.”
Summers, who also performs as Dotsy the Clown, says a licensing requirement would be a good move for entertainers who consider themselves “professionals” rather than hobbyists.
“For a lot of us it’s a profession. It’s what we enjoy, it’s our passion, it’s our career choice,” Summers said. “So being certified by the government is a great idea. We’re able to let our customers know that we are certified professionals.”
The move to require the licensing comes at the prompting of a child abuse advocate and former clown who has toured the GTA calling for the licensing of kids’ performers.
While Brampton city council unanimously voted in support of having the bylaw drafted, city staff recommended against it, citing legislative roadblocks and difficulties with enforcements.
Summers said while background checks and references are not typically required when performing at private events, it’s almost always mandatory for shows at schools, libraries and malls.
She also pointed out that home-based children’s daycares in Brampton are not required to be licensed.
“Performers are never alone with any of these kids,” she said. “There are always other kids there and parents there.”
No timeline has been given as to when the new bylaw will come into effect.