Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) refers to best practices to prevent the spread of germs that can cause diseases and infections. This includes proper cleaning and disinfection of re-usable tools, surfaces and equipment.
What is an Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) Lapse?
An IPAC lapse occurs when best practices for preventing the spread of germs have not been followed, which could cause people to get sick.
CK Public Health investigates all complaints of improper IPAC practices, including those related to:
- Personal services provided in salons, spas, barber shops and tattoo parlours
- Medical services provided by regulated health professionals, including doctors, nurses, dentists and others (see a full list of regulated health professions here)
- Licensed child care centres and unlicensed home-based child care
- Recreational facilities, such as sports clubs
- Temporary housing, such as shelters or housing for seasonal workers
What Happens When a Complaint is Received
When CK Public Health receives a complaint about improper IPAC practices or learns that a disease outbreak may be linked to a particular place or service, our team of public health nurses and public health inspectors complete an investigation.
If CK Public Health finds that IPAC best practices have not been followed, we work with staff and service providers to make sure that proper practices are put in place. Enforcement action may be taken if needed. You can find a list of recent convictions here.
If CK Public Health believes there is a risk that clients or patients may have been exposed to certain diseases that take a long time for symptoms to appear, such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or HIV, we may contact previous clients or patients and advise them to get tested so that they can receive treatment if needed.
Things You Can Do
- Know the risks of improper infection prevention and control
- Know how to protect yourself
- Report a concern
- See a list of recent IPAC lapse investigations
What’s the Risk
When best practices for infection prevention and control are not followed, germs that make people sick can spread. This can lead to infections and disease outbreaks.
Certain services pose a higher risk of causing serious long-term infections than others. This includes services where tools and instruments are used that pierce the skin.
Tools that pierce the skin must be free of germs (i.e. sterile). If they are not, they can spread germs and cause serious infections like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or HIV. Examples include services you might receive at a salon or spa (like ear piercing, microneedling or tattoos, etc.) or services you receive from a registered health professional (like dental work, medical foot care, wound care, etc.).
Ways You Can Protect Yourself
Look Around and Ask Questions
If you have concerns about infection prevention and control practices in a public establishment, don’t be afraid to ask questions! Some things to look for:
- Is the establishment clean, well-lit and organized?
- Are tools, work surfaces and equipment in good repair (e.g. no rust or cracks, etc.)?
- Has the person providing your service washed his or her hands?
- Have tools been cleaned and disinfected between clients?
If you are concerned about anything you see or hear, you can report your concern to CK Public Health.
Check the Inspection Report
CK Public Health regularly inspects salons and spas and licensed child care centres. Always check the inspection report on Check it CK before you go.
- For more information about salons and spas, click here.
- For more information about licensed child care centres, click here.
How to Report a Concern
You can always report a concern about infection prevention and control practices to CK Public Health. A public health nurse or public health inspector will follow up with you.