Supporting a Strong Spa Industry

The Quebec spa industry gains a powerful collective voice through the creation of a new provincial association

This spring, the fast-growing spa industry in Quebec gained a new voice. On May 7, the Association Québécoise des spas was formed to mobilize the province's exploding spa industry.

The new association aims to support, represent, and defend all players in the spa industry in Quebec, through four main strategies:

  • develop a cohesion between the players in this industry
  • represent and defend their collective interests
  • offer services required by members
  • develop strategies, or tools, to assist in the challenges in which they are confronted.

"The request to form the new association came from the provincial government last fall," recalls Lucie Brosseau, president and CEO of the new association, and president and CEO of Alliance Spas Relais santé. "We already had the Relais in place, but the number of spa members is limited because of the certification requirements. The government requested an association that was more representative of the spa market throughout the province."

In response, a founding committee including representatives from Alliance Spas Relais santé and other industry members was formed to implement the new association. The committee met six or seven times leading up to the early May launch. From there, a board of directors was created, with Sylvie Lessard, Spa Détente du Manoir du Lac William presiding as the first chair.

Membership includes two categories: spa members and partner members. At launch there were 36 spa members onboard, with a goal of reaching 150 within three years, says Brosseau. The definition of a spa member supports the definition outlined in the Spa Standards BNQ 9700-040, developed by the Relais with the Bureau de normalisation du Québec (BNQ) and Tourisme Québec. Specifically:

An establishment contributing to people's wellness in an environment conducive to relaxation, offering as the main activity one or more forms of water therapy and one or several types of professional treatments, at least including massage therapy, offered in two or more treatment rooms and comprising a relaxation area reserved for this purpose.

While the Alliance Spas Relais santé will continue to focus on quality certification, the new association will prioritize issues and topics that apply to the whole spa industry in the province, such as training and skills development, lobbying, the spa standard, executing surveys and studies, group purchasing, offering collective insurance, employment services, quality and quantity of product suppliers, and so on. The association will be tasked with staying on top of the evolution of the industry and the trends driving it, and will provide spa industry representation on diverse committees including government and industry groups. Members will be invited to participate in an annual assembly, partake in training activities, and will receive a monthly electronic newsletter.

Recognized by the Quebec government as an Association touristique sectorielle (ATS), the association receives financial support from the Ministry of Tourism.

"This fall, we will launch our first large market study of the size and characteristics of the spa industry in Quebec—the last numbers are from 2006," Brosseau says. "I just love this industry and the people in it. This association will be a wonderful opportunity for all of us."


by Heather Ednie | Summer 2012