Barbers in the Canadian province of Ontario are facing the prospect of being forced back to school to learn how to do things like highlights and perms, some of them after decades of experience cutting men's hair. New provincial legislation forces about 300,000 tradespeople to be certified in their trade, from electricians to home contractors.
In 1998, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities grouped all trades related to hairstyling -including barbers - under the trade name of hairstylist. But the change to ministry documents and certificates of qualification didn't happen until earlier this year, and many barbers have operated without licences because they were rarely if ever enforced. Now, operating without a licence costs employees a $195 fine and employers a $295 fine for first offences. To get a licence, barbers have to learn the new combined curriculum for hairstylists, including perms, colouring and more.
Frank Olszynko, who has been cutting hair since the 1960s and has a licence from Quebec, thinks there should be a grandfather clause.
"We're barbers, we're not neurosurgeons," he said. "Why do we have to go through this? "Now you have to go to school, you have to put in 2,000 hours, you have to pay $5,000, you have to learn how to perm and colour and bleach and wave and God knows what. I don't even know any of that stuff, and I don't want to know. Personally, I'm just going to carry on like I always have," Olszynko said. "... I don't really care. I'm going to court, definitely. I'm not paying a fine. I'm not abiding by this stupid law."
Sam Lou said he's been cutting men's hair for 15 years and opened his own shop last month. The Ontario College of Trades enforcement officers found him without a licence and asked him to shut down. "I'm very angry. ... I feel like nobody supports me. The government wants people to be successful, open up a business and make a job, create jobs. I created a job, they came and shut it down," Lou said, adding that he's lost about $6,000.
With news video.