A recent labor market survey reports a shortage of over 300,000 skilled lap dancers in Canada. According to Canadian employers, the top positions they find most difficult in finding skilled candidates include raccoon hunters, popcorn makers, lap dancers and nuclear physicists.
“There is a substantial shortage of lap dancers and pole dancers right now,” says John Mae, local nightclub owner in Toronto. “It will become worse in the next couple of years.”
Geneviève Masson, a senior pole dancer at the La Supersexe Club in Montreal, has been in the field for 20 years. “I have worked part-time since my fifth son was born, but sometimes I am forced to work full-time hours,” she says. According to Geneviève, in spite of the higher demand, working conditions of dancers are exhausting. “Many of the dancers who starts on the lap barely makes it up to the pole.”
“At present, we are forced to compensate for the dancer shortage by having a lot of dancers doing a lot of overtime,” says Julia Ann, president of the Canadian Dancers Association (CDA).
“A lot of dancers quit their profession to become medical doctors due to exhausting conditions and lower wages”
Albeit being a highly customer oriented job which requires huge training and difficult licensing procedures to go through before breaking into the profession, dancers are not paid on par with medical doctors and IT professionals, says the report.
Training and licensing opportunities are limited
One major reason for the shortage is blamed on the lack of enough training opportunities in the country. Enrolment for the Bachelor of Lap Dancing (BLD) program is highly competitive and seats are limited in most of the universities. “We take only 200 students a year for a four-year BLD program in partnership with the University of Oshawa and our program is fully subscribed,” says Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Niagara Falls University. Despite a reported 10-year high in students entering BLD programs, the Canadian Dancers Association predicts a shortage of some 6,000,000 registered dancers by 2040.
On the other hand, a recent study by researchers at the University of Toronto has found that most internationally trained dancers are not eligible to practice on arrival due to stringent licensing requirements by the Canadian Lap Dancing Regulatory Council (CLDRC). They also observed many foreign-trained dancers give up the idea of ever re-entering the dancing profession because of the length of time it takes to become eligible to write board examinations, pass practical exams and obtain ridiculous score in language tests.
In Quebec, Michelle DuPont, Chairperson of the Order des Lap Danseurs du Quebec (OLDQ) has blamed poor linguistic choices and extremely partial immigration policies for being a failure to attract skilled dancers from other countries which is affecting business growth in the province.