Toronto barber wants to cut trade school red tape

In Ontario, barbers wishing to be certified need to study hairstyling

Posted: January 30, 2018

Dwight Murray works on a "freestyle" fade at his Toronto Fade Master Academy in downtown Toronto. (David Donnelly/CBC)

A Toronto barber says the growing popularity of his old-time trade should be cause for the Ontario government to modernize its hairstylist training regulations, rather than crack down on thriving businesses.

Dwight Murray, 30, president of the barbering school Toronto Fade Master Academy, says he was frustrated by a recent inspection by the Ontario College of Trades and has been forced to remove the organization's logo from his website.

"I was very startled by that," said Murray. "They said, 'Remove the logos, your program is not approved and if you continue we will take actions of enforcement.'"


Barbering was merged under the official trade of hairstyling in Ontario in 1998. In 2013, the Ontario College of Trades took over licensing.

Barbers who want be fully licensed and certified need to complete a hairstyling program.

"They'll teach you the chemical approach. How to perm, how to straighten, curls. It's a respectable program, but it's not what we have interest in," Murray said in an interview.

Murray's academy only teaches barbering and scalp micro pigmentation and does not fulfill the College's requirements to be a trade school.

In December, he says an inspector from the College visited his downtown Toronto location.

"They said all barbers, all of my instructors, myself, my students will need to hairstylists, they said we need to go to hair styling school," said Murray, who says he's been barbering since he was 12.


A College spokesperson said Monday its only issue with the academy was the use of the College logo on its website, which has since been removed.

The barbershop trend

For a few years now, traditional barber shops, with their hot shaves, straight razors and fades, have been making a trendy and, in some areas, profitable comeback.

Murray says the barbering business is thriving right now, as close-cropped hair styles, beards and salons with a traditional a barbershop vibe have become more fashionable.

"Three or four years ago, it started getting really popular and the demand for the profession is increasing," Murray said in the interview.

Murray is also the founder of Miami Fades, a barbershop and hair loss clinic franchise with six locations in the GTA.

His academy has taught barbering to more than 700 students. Tuition for the academy's "Fade Master Professonal Barbering" program costs up to $5,500, not including barbering equipment.

Murray says although these hairstyling programs teach barbering as a "component" of hairstyling, they lack the specific skills and training of the craft, such as fades, beards, and the use of a straight razor.