The End of Sanity

For the past three decades, I have been attempting to improve the level of knowledge and training in the body piercing industry, and I have been dismayed at the changing attitudes of the Public Health system which have been working in the opposite direction. I must prefix my comments by saying that my experience has been limited to the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Health Unit (KFLA) but I can only assume that the problems pervade the Province of Ontario, and possibly span Canada coast to coast.

When I wrote the first protocols for piercing studios in 1993, the goal of every health inspector I met was to make the world safer, be it restaurant patrons, customers of personal services studios, or families wanting assurance their drinking water was safe. Every inspector I met had a thirst for understanding, hoping to improve their ability to fulfill their mandate. The protocols were considered to be guidelines, and could be varied according to circumstance. In many cases, the protocols are not even internally consistent, so a reasoned approach to maintaining client safety was always guiding their enforcement efforts.

However during the last 15 years, I have observed, and many times complained about, a disturbing tendency among health inspectors to ignore their mandate. I have had a dozen members of the KFLA Health Unit, over time, tell me flat out that IT IS NOT THEIR JOB TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC!  Rather they are presenting themselves as enforcement officers and have become a collection of box checkers, without regard to their mandate!

The change is both regrettable and disconcerting, as the new public health legislation in Ontario grants the inspectors sweeping, unmitigated authority without any reasonable constraints.

Along with this trend is a disturbing erosion of basic knowledge and understanding.  The standards of excellence one would expect of a university graduate are glaringly absent from most health inspectors. The ignorance of basic principles is actually ingrained in the very protocols which they are enforcing.  That anyone approved these protocols without understanding the technical errors demonstrates the severe lack of expertise in those entrusted with their authorship.  This is pure bureaucratic over-reach of the worst kind: the inmates have taken control of the asylum!

What is happening today is the erosion of safety, with blind syncophants judging their preformance by the number of boxes they manage to check, with neither regard  nor understanding of the detrimental consequences of their actions. The public is being placed at risk as businesses are finding it impossible to maintain proper safeguards because they are being penalized for attempting to be better.  Instead they are being forced to employ less stringent methods.  And the health units maintain their self-congratulatory (nearly auto-erotic) environment while the public is placed at risk.

Can you imagine little Jack Horner as a health inspector?

Little Jack Horner
Sat in the corner,
Eating a Christmas pie;
He put in his thumb,
And pulled out a plum,
And said, "What a good boy am I!"


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