What Are the Laws Regarding Tattoos in Canada?

Canadian laws governing the legal age for tattoos vary and are set by provincial, local, municipal or city laws, even varying from one tattoo studio to the next. No national law sets a specific age of consent. Because getting a tattoo requires a person to enter into a legal contract, many tattoo studios require a customer to be over age 18 to get a tattoo without parental consent.

Some municipalities or regional governing boards, including Victoria, B.C., set the minimum age for tattooing at 16 with written parental consent. In many other places, there is no minimum age as long as a parent gives consent. In Labrador and Newfoundland, laws require written parental consent only for those under age 16. In Alberta, voluntary guidelines allow tattoo shop owners to set their own age policies, while suggesting that the owners set their age of consent at 18. Many tattoo studios in Canada refuse to tattoo anyone under the age of 18 as a precaution against parental objection after the fact.

In the United States, tattoo laws vary from state to state, though in 45 states one must be over 18 years old to get a tattoo, regardless of parental consent, and the rest require parental consent for minors under age 18.