Politics
Ontario barbers upset at prospect of being forced to learn how to style women's hair

Credits: Dave Thomas/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency

ANTONELLA ARTUSO | QMI AGENCY

TORONTO - The province's hair police have been told to stand down while Ontario launches a consultation with the barber industry.

Ontario College Training Minister Brad Duguid said his office will shortly send out a letter to barbers across the province asking them if they want to be licensed as hairstylists or barbers.

"Other than my family and the premier, there's probably nobody more important in my life than my barber," Duguid, known for his own perfectly coiffed head, joked Monday. "We don't only trust our barbers with our hair, I trust them to be able to make judgements for themselves to how they want

their profession to be designated."

Inspectors with the Ontario College of Trade started cracking down on barbers who have not been trained and licensed as hairstylists, handing out expensive tickets and demanding additional training.

Sean Reid, from the Stop the Trades Tax campaign, said it's ridiculous to force barbers who have been cutting men's hair, sometimes for decades, to learn how to dye and perm women's hair.

"That's the part that makes no sense," Reid said. "It's like telling Eric Clapton that he can't be a musician because he doesn't know how to play the clarinet. They're enforcing a licence that's irrelevant to most barbers in the province."

Duguid said he's had a discussion with the college and inspectors will stop enforcement until the

consultations are complete.

In the 1990s, barbers were grouped in with hairstylists for the purpose of licensing.

The College of Trades, brought in by the Ontario Liberal government, began enforcing that rule recently, even after the province gave barbers a two-year reprieve from college membership until 2015.

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