An investigation by Option Consommateur shows that even though Health Canada has made it clear there's a risk of skin cancer when using tanning beds, the laws to protect users are not being enforced.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Canada and 90 percent of the time, it’s believed to be caused by ultraviolet radiation.
The laws have been updated to reflect those dangers.
Since February 2013, minors under the age of 18 are not allowed to use tanning beds in Quebec.
The Canadian law has also been updated over the last few months. It says all tanning salons must advertise new skin cancer warning labels.
Option Consommateur says they went undercover in 20 Montreal and Toronto tanning salons, 10 in each city, and only three were enforcing the laws.
“The regulation is not applied so it’s kind of a free for all,” spokesperson Olivier Bourgeois said.
He says because of that, only 40 percent of the 45 tanners that were interviewed knew about the dangers.
“It’s even more serious because we know through our interviews with the users that people don’t know the risks.”
Bourgeois says the government needs to create an awareness campaign.
He says tanning salons need to tell people about the dangers, verbally and in writing, and more inspectors are needed to make sure that happens.
“I'm curious to hear that only 30 percent of the salons are following the law, because the penalties are so high, but one thing that I'm hearing from a lot of tanning salon owners is that they didn't receive the information that they need to enforce the law,” Alain Fournier, the president of the Quebec Tanning Salon Association said.
The fines can vary between $3000 and $5000.
Option Consommateur received funding from Industry Canada to complete the research.