VANCOUVER - The B.C. government is warning of a new kind of head hunter targeting Canadian campuses, but the job description requires skills not on offer at the institutions.
British Columbia's advanced education minister has sent a letter warning post-secondary schools to keep an eye out for adult entertainment businesses that may try to recruit strippers in exchange for tuition.
Naomi Yamamoto wrote this week she's concerned recruiters may attempt to set up booths at post-secondary job fairs across Canada this fall.
"Students, who often feel new stresses due to new living environments and managing their own affairs for the first time, may be tempted by these monetary inducements," Yamamoto wrote.
"Many initiatives are in place to ensure students have access to our province's world class institutions. It should not be necessary for students to submit themselves to the risks potentially involved in working in the adult entertainment business."
She said in her letter that her information comes from a series of news stories out of Windsor, Ont. about the trend occurring at some of the city's campuses.
"The concern is our post secondary institutions should be considered safe places for students, and some of these adult entertainment businesses are luring students into what most people would consider risky behaviour," she said later in an interview.
"What we're not doing is telling students they can't pursue job opportunities or career opportunities in the adult entertainment business. We're saying we just don't want them aggressively recruiting on our campuses."
She also noted in her letter that during the spring, the sex industry suggested it would recruit near Vancouver public schools.
Tim Lambrinos, the executive director of the Adult Entertainment Association of Canada, has said in recent interviews that the industry will be looking for potential employees at public high schools.
Lambrinos said recruitment was necessary because a new federal bill that aims to stem human trafficking by preventing bars, strip clubs and escort services from hiring foreign workers as exotic dancers has resulted in a labour shortage for the adult entertainment business.
At the time, Vancouver school board officials put out the message that public educational facilities are not an appropriate venue to recruit adult entertainment industry workers.
Lambrinos referred all questions to the group's lawyer, an immigration expert who was not immediately available for comment.
Leopard’s Lounge and Broil Strip Club in Windsor has recently stepped up its campaign to hire post-secondary students, but its general manager said the advertising was done solely through social media such as Facebook and traditional media.
"We don't go on job fairs, we certainly don't go on campus with fliers," Barry Maroon said in an interview.
"I think there's a place and time for everything, and I don't think adult entertainment belongs on campus with a booth."
Barry said his club has been recruiting Canadian students over the last 20 years. However, it increased its efforts now that it can no longer hire foreign workers.
Barry said he offers student dancers around $1,700 each semester for tuition, but in exchange, they must maintain a B average in school.
He said there has been five or six dancers over the years who dropped out of school despite the tuition incentive. But for the most part, exotic dancing is a "positive thing" that serves as a stepping stone, not a career, for student dancers.
"Not everybody's made out to go to university," he said.
"One (girl) took a flower arrangement course and small business course and has had the same flower shop now for 15 years."
The University of B.C. said it received the government's letter, but so far, it has not received any applications from the adult entertainment business about setting up booths at its career fair in September.
"Our focus in our career fairs is to put together opportunities for students that are related to their degree and their program of study and most often, full-time employment that they might seek after graduation," said Kim Kiloh, director of the Centre of Student Involvement and Careers at UBC.
"At this time, it seems quite unlikely that that would be the kind of organization that would end up passing through our review and our practices."