A CBC News hidden camera investigation reveals some B.C. tattoo parlours are inking teenagers without parental consent — despite a recommendation from the province that minors should obtain the permission of a parent.

CBC News sent a 17-year-old volunteer to three tattoo parlours in the Lower Mainland, where the teen made her age known.

An artist at Geronimo’s Tattoos in Burnaby initially said he believed parental consent was only required for those under the age of 16.

"He was ready and he said, ‘Do you want to do this now?’ and I said, ‘How long would it take?’ and he said, ‘Twenty minutes,’” the teen told CBC News.

“But I made an excuse not to do it now but he would have done it right then.”

But when the teen went back into the shop minutes later, she was told anyone under the age of 18 needs the permission of a parent to get a tattoo.

Phoenix Tattoos in Surrey agreed to do the tattoo and ignore the teen’s age, saying it was unlikely her parents would ever find out.

Only one tattoo parlour — Ink and Honey in Port Coquitlam — flatly refused the teen, saying they wouldn’t ink her unless her parents signed a consent form.

'Jailhouse tattoo'

Prince George mom Sheila Hanschen was furious when her 15-year-old daughter got a tattoo without her consent.

"She's 15 and she sends me a picture of a wonderful, ugly jailhouse tattoo on her shoulder,” Hanschen said.

“You can also see the spots where the skin is showing right through because they're not solid lines.”

When CBC News went to Ink Fetish in Prince George, where the 15-year-old says she got her tattoo, tattoo artist G Fjellnar said it wasn’t their work.

“It kind of looks like an amateur job, like maybe she got it in somebody's basement and then didn't want to tell her mom,” Fjellnar said.

“My ink is black. That looks kind of brown.”

Ink Fetish says it demands parental consent and won’t ink a teenager without it.

But Fjellnar says there are a lot of so-called amateur scratch artists out there.

“If your child is hell-bent on getting a tattoo, they're not going to your regular, on- the-high-street tattoo shop. They're going to go to their buddy, in a basement, who very likely doesn't have a sterilizer.”

Calls for regulation

Hanschen herself got an amateur tattoo as a teen, putting an old boyfriend's name on her fingers.

“It stopped me from getting jobs,” she said. “It made me look like a lower class citizen.”

Hanschen had her tattoo surgically removed and wants her daughter to do the same.

“There should be rules until a certain age when they've actually become mature enough to decide what they want to do.”

Many tattoo artists are calling for changes.

Charles Parent, an artist at the Mad Tatter in Surrey and head of the B.C. Body Art Association, wants the province to create a regulatory body to enforce standards throughout the province.

“Unfortunately, the laws in B.C. right now have no age limit, so really anybody can be tattooed at any age,” he said.

“Too many people are catching diseases, too many people are getting injured, there’s massive infections, and too many people are tattooing that have absolutely no idea what they’re doing, without proper training, without using proper [antiseptic] techniques, without using the proper equipment.”

In most Canadian cities, there are no laws preventing teens from getting tattoos, only guidelines recommending teenagers obtain parental consent.

In Victoria, the Capital Regional District requires the consent of a parent or guardian. Tattoo artists there are also required to ask for identification from anyone who appears to be under the age of 25.

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  • Al Gore & Manbearpig

    This guy was super cereal about making a bad decision. <em>(<a href="http://ugliesttattoos.failblog.org/2011/02/09/funny-tattoos-manbearpig/" target="_hplink">Ugliest Tattoos</a>)</em>

  • Hillary Clinton

    This is what happens when you ask for a tattoo that nobody else in the world has. More on this <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/entertainment/celebrities_gossip/Philly_tattoo_artist_gets_Hillary_tattoo_Hillary_camp_wont_discuss_it.html" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Bill Clinton

    Bubba's dreamy gaze really comes through on an inked up bicep. <em><a href="http://godfatherofgreenbay.xanga.com/photos/870ff281675986/" target="_hplink">(source)</a></em>

  • Tea Party


  • Second Amendment

    You have to admire the directness of this tattoo. <em><a href="http://ugliesttattoos.failblog.org/2010/10/18/funny-tattoos-the-right-to-ugly-arms/" target="_hplink">(Ugliest Tattoos)</a></em>

  • Dick Cheney

    When in doubt, just cover up that old tat with one of an ex-vice president devil-goat. <em>(<a href="http://www.iphonesavior.com/2008/10/zune-tattoo-guy-makes-dick-cheney-the-devil.html" target="_hplink">source</a>)</em>

  • Don't Tread On Me

    The tattoo on the right must complicate the process of getting a back-walking massage. <em><a href="http://rsmccain.blogspot.com/2009/04/extreme-youth.html" target="_hplink">(source)</a></em>

  • GOP Elephant

    Well, would ya look at that. That's, uh, that's a tattoo. Go you. <a href="http://www.tattoorack.com/tattoo-designs/25634-gop" target="_hplink"><em>(Tattoo Rack)</em></a>

  • GOP Swastika

    Remember now, they're permanent. <em><a href="http://ugliesttattoos.failblog.org/2012/04/10/funny-tattoos-gopstika/" target="_hplink">(Ugliest Tattoos)</a></em>

  • JFK, Part I

    "Ich bin ein tattoo." <em><a href="http://lelkola.deviantart.com/journal/Tattoos-for-life-216746012#/d1xarbc" target="_hplink">(source)</a></em>

  • JFK, Part II

    We're sure it makes sense in the context of the rest of the arm. <em><a href="http://sinnermantattoo.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/JFK.112133612_large.jpg" target="_hplink">(source)</a></em>

  • Anti-Gay Bible Scripture

    You know what else Leviticus says? <a href="http://bible.cc/leviticus/19-28.htm" target="_hplink">No tattoos</a>. Also <a href="http://bible.cc/leviticus/19-27.htm" target="_hplink">no haircuts</a>. <em><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dF5M9v1ydh0" target="_hplink">(source)</a></em>

  • Richard Nixon

    And here's Nixon as a tattoo, by way of "The Simpsons." <em><a href="http://www.ratemyink.com/?action=ssp&pid=112075" target="_hplink">(Rate My Ink)</a></em>

  • President Barack Obama

    Whoa. Too much detail. <em>(<a href="http://offbeatink.com/experiences/can-we-get-an-obama-tattoo-yes-we-can/" target="_hplink">Offbeatink.com</a>)</em>

  • Obama 44

    Whoa. Not enough detail. <em>(<a href="http://www.tattoostattoo.com/Free/Obama-44-number.html" target="_hplink">source</a>)</em>

  • Sarah Palin

    We'd be remiss not to make an "I can see butt-crack from here" joke. More on the tattoo from the <em><a href="http://militarytimes.com/blogs/battle-rattle/2010/05/27/gunnys-sarah-palin-tattoo-the-butt-of-jokes/" target="_hplink">Military Times</a></em>.

  • Ronald Reagan

    Clearly a fan of trickle down economics. And tramp stamps. <em><a href="http://www.allweirdpics.com/pictures/Ronald_Reagan_Tattoo.htm" target="_hplink">(Allweirdpics.com)</a></em>

  • Ron Paul

    Reminds me of my Green Party tribal band. <a href="http://reason.com/blog/2008/03/20/the-revolution-will-be-tattoiz" target="_hplink"><em>(Reason)</em></a>

  • Sarah Palin, Part II

    <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Governors_of_Alaska" target="_hplink">Alaska's third-most popular half-term governor</a> assumes her rightful place on your calf, where she'll stay forever. <a href="http://ugliesttattoos.failblog.org/2011/07/15/funny-tattoos-unflippinbelievable/" target="_hplink"><em>(Ugliest Tattoos)</em></a>

  • Teddy Roosevelt

    An exact replica of the presidential portrait in the White House. That's what we hear. <a href="http://godfatherofgreenbay.xanga.com/photos/0dd12281676014/" target="_hplink"><em>(source)</em></a>

  • Sarah Palin, Part III

    Think of someone you find repulsive and toxic, then brand a picture of said person's face on your body. Voilà.

  • White Power Unicorn?

    This is one confused racist. <a href="http://ugliesttattoos.failblog.org/2012/02/08/funny-tattoos-nazi-rainbow-ponies-are-the-worst/" target="_hplink"><em>(Ugliest Tattoos)</em></a>

  • Jimmy Carter

    Poor Jimmy Carter -- always the *<em>butt</em>* of political jokes. See what we did there?

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    Sunshine n' showers? Only at the weekend...

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    Frankie Sandford

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    The owner of these wings hasn't always been angelic...

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    Kelly Osbourne

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    Well she's definitely a star - and that blonde hair might be a bit of a giveaway...

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    Sienna Miller

  • Whose Tat is That?

    We wont be putting this body art through to the next round. Sorry pet.

  • Whose Tat is That?

    Cheryl Cole

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    This leading lady has more tats than kids - and that's saying something!

  • Whose Tat is That?

    Angelina Jolie

  • Whose Tat is That?

    That'll be 'Rebel Flower' then. Quite appropriate we reckon.

  • Whose Tat is That?


  • Whose Tat is That?

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    Peaches Geldof

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    This lady wasn't allowed a tattoo when she was younger...

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    Sarah Harding

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    These tattoos aren't the only way she's changed her appearance recently...

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    Jodie Marsh

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    This lady has a well known bad side...

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    Kate Moss

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    This fashionista has almost as many tats as her footballing hubby...

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    Victoria Beckham

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    Surely you'd recognise that inked up bod anywhere...

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    David Beckham

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    Bet she didn't have that when she was in ET...

  • Whose Tat is That?

    Drew Barrymore