Is your salon or spa relocating or under new management?
Please click here for relocation documentation and here for new ownership documentation to be submitted to the Association.

Opening a Salon or Spa

IMPORTANT: When opening a business, please ensure to submit your business registration application and salon space plan a few weeks in advance as the application process can take up to 4-6 weeks.  Please note, walk-ins will not be processed on the same day. Once your business registration application and additional required documentation have been received, your application will be reviewed.

There are many steps involved in opening your own salon or spa, and the Cosmetology Association of Nova Scotia is here to help prepare members to achieve business success. The secret is getting started… but where do you start?

Cosmetology business permits are compulsory by law and must be issued by the Cosmetology Association of Nova Scotia to every salon and spa (commercial, home-based or mobile). The Association must be in receipt of application forms, space plan and prescribed fees prior to issuing a salon or spa permit. Permits must be renewed no later than December 31st of each calendar year. Please read the following information below carefully to properly apply for and register your salon or spa with the Association.

There may be other permits required, please visit Access Nova Scotia for further requirements.

General Guidelines

All employees providing services to the public for fee, gain, or expectation of reward or remuneration must hold a valid and current licence in their scope of practice.  Licences and permits must be displayed in a location visible to the public at all times.  Salon and spas must also be in compliance with Occupational Health and Safety standards, which can be viewed at   

*Students cannot apply for a permit to operate until they have completed the Provincial Exam and become fully licensed with the Cosmetology Association of Nova Scotia.
Chair and Room renters are business owners and must register thier business "see below".

The Association may ask for proof that a business owner has fulfilled all other requirements to operate a cosmetology establishment before application approval, such as compliance with the following listed below:

  • Registry of Joint Stock Companies - Individuals or partners using only their personal names without a descriptive element or attachment are not required to register with the Registry of Joint Stock Companies.  Please click here for more information.
  • Municipal Zoning requirements - Zoning is the process of dividing land in a municipality into zones (e.g. residential, industrial) in which certain land uses are permitted or prohibited.  Please click here for more information on zoning in your area.
  • Development Permit - A development permit is official approval issued by the local government agency that allows you or your contractor to proceed with a construction or remodeling project on your property.  It is intended to ensure that the project plans to comply with local standards for land use, zoning, and construction.
  • Revenue Canada - Are you a chair/room renter (self-employed business owner) or an employee? Visit Canada Revenue Agency for further information.

*All documentation and fee(s) must be received in order to release a permit to operate.

Effective as of October 15, 2018

The following additions are being added to the Association`s Policies and Procedures and the Salon and Spa Compliance Handbook:

All salon and spas (including in-home salons and spas) opened on or after October 15, 2018, must:
  • provide and maintain a separate entrance to the salon/spa (which does not require entry into or visibility of living quarters).
  • provide and maintain an open/closed sign to be displayed on the outside (or in a window visible to the public) of the premises.
  • post a price list and salon/spa operating hours, visible to the public.
  • provide and maintain separate washroom facilities for exclusive use by the public which does not require entry into personal living quarters.
  • provide and maintain a sink with running hot and cold water in the room or in an adjacent room where cosmetology services are being offered.
  • provide proof of insurance to the Association.
  • be in compliance with all Provincial and Municipal laws, including confirmation of the Municipality`s approval (i.e: zoning permit, building permit if applicable, and the Registry of Joint Stock).
  • be separate from personal living quarters.
  • provide and maintain adequate lighting and ventilation.
  • adhere to all other Acts and By-Law requirements.
  • adhere to the Association`s inspection checklist requirements. Note: Inspectors cannot be turned away from a salon or spa providing services to the public.
Registration & Permit Fees

 Business Registration Fee:
This one-time Salon/Spa Application Registration Fee as per Schedule B of the By-laws.
Please note: payment of fees will not be accepted without relevant documentation.

Permit Fee: This annual fee (as per Schedule B of the Association's By-laws) is renewable on or before December 31st of each calendar year. The type of permit for which you apply depends on the number of Cosmetologists working at your salon (do not include self employed renters):

1 Person = Apply for a Salon Licence (1) 
Up to 5 = Apply for a Salon Licence (2-5) 
Up to 10 = Apply for a Salon Licence (6-10) 
Over 11 = Apply for a Salon Licence (11+) 

Business registration forms can be submitted by fax (902) 468-7147, email or walk-in.

Once the business registration process is completed, you will be issued a Temporary Permit pending inspection.  The goal of coordinating a first- time inspection between the Association and a salon is to equip business owners with everything they will need to succeed and operate safely from the start.  The Association is aware salon/spa hours may vary, please provide the Association with your current salon/spa hours to ensure a prompt inspection.  Upon a successful inspection, the inspector will provide you with your valid permit to operate. 

For more information regarding inspections, please refer to the Salon & Spa Compliance Handbook

Chair/Room Renters
Approved by members at the AGM on September 22, 2019.

If you are a self-employed business owner renting space within a salon or spa, you are required to obtain a salon permit, as is required by all salon/spa owners to ensure compliance with Canada Revenue Agency rules and regulations.

The following is a requirement of CANADA REVENUE AGENCY:

Are you self employed?
A chair/room renter is self-employed if any of the following situations applies (including but not limited to):
1. Your business is known and registered under another business name (or your own personal name) for tax purposes.
2. You advertise (on Social Media, traditional Media, business cards, pamphlets, flyers, etc.) under a different name other than the salon or spa name.
2. You schedule your own client appointments in a separate appointment book from that of the salon or spa.
4. You handle all monetary transactions directly (no money flows through the salon or spa).
5. You purchase all your own supplies for services provided.
6. You schedule your own hours and come and go as you wish.

Note: A salon/spa owner is responsible for insurable earnings for hairdressers, including those on chair/room rent. If the salon/spa owner does not know what the renter's income is, Employment Insurance is adjusted.

Please visit Canada Revenue Agency's website for more information, or contact CRA directly at 800-959-5525.

"If you do not know how much the worker earned and/or the expenses the worker incurred in generating revenue from their operation in the establishment during a pay period, the amount of insurable earnings is the lesser of:
  • the number of days worked in the week multiplied by 1/390 of the maximum of the annual insurable earnings
  • 1/78 of the maximum of the annual insurable earnings" ...
Rational for chair/room renter permit:
Chair/room renters are not employees of the salon/spa. Salons/spas and industry are suffering. Salon owners are complaining of loss of employees and income to their business due to chair/room rental locations increasing.

Low pricing is often offered by chair/room renters, leaving salons/spas in hardship (resulting in different pricing between salon service providers).
Chair/room renters are business owners and must comply (as other salon owners comply) with section 31 (1) of the Cosmetology Act

Salon & Spa Relocation
Salon/Spa owners relocating their registered cosmetology establishment are required to contact the Association to obtain a valid permit to operate and complete Schedule A-2.  Salon relocation is subject to a Salon/Spa Relocation Fee as outlined in Schedule B of the Association's By-laws.  Once the Association is in receipt of all forms and payment of fees applicable thereto, a Temporary Permit will be issued and an inspection of the salon/spa will be arranged.  Upon a successful inspection, you will be provided with a valid permit to operate.  

New Ownership
Individuals taking over ownership of an existing salon are required to provide proof of ownership, together with a completed Schedule C and Schedule A-2 . Documentation stating the previous owner has relinquished ownership (including full contact information for previous owner) must accompany this application. Completed forms can be submitted by fax at (902) 468-7147, email or at the Cosmetology Association office.

Salon & Spa Closure
Individuals no longer operating a cosmetology establishment are required to notify the Association in writing (email accepted) of such closure, with a request that the corresponding account/business permit with the Cosmetology Association be discontinued.  Please click to submit the request.

Please allow 4 - 6 weeks for processing of all applications.

Cosmetology Association (NS)
126 Chain Lake Drive
Halifax, NS  B3S 1A2

Hours of Operation
Monday 8:30 - 4:30
Tuesday 8:30 - 4:30
Wednesday 8:30 - 4:30
Thursday 8:30 - 4:30
Friday 8:30 - 3:00

*Holiday or Weather closures/cancellations will be noted in the Calendar.
Office: (902) 468-6477
Fax: (902) 468-7147
Toll Free: (800) 765-8757

General Inquiries

Provincial Exam Information

Executive Director
Dana Sharkey, CAE 



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