Ottawa

Morris Home Hardware owner sorry for not honouring tax exemption

The owner of a Home Hardware store in Ottawa has apologized to a First Nations woman for refusing to accept her Indian status card for a provincial sales tax exemption earlier this month.

Woman no longer filing human rights complaint about Sept. 18 incident

Mike Morris, right, apologized to Cecile Dumont, left, on Monday for not accepting her Indian status card for a provincial sales tax exemption earlier this month. (CBC)

The owner of a Home Hardware store in Ottawa has apologized to a First Nations woman for refusing to accept her Indian status card for a provincial sales tax exemption earlier this month.

"I'm very sorry, on Sept. 18th, that I was not giving you the proper treatment that you should in a Home Hardware store. And I, not wanting to cause problems, I said some false statements that I definitely in the heat of the moment maybe should not have said, and I'm very sorry for that," said Mike Morris, the store's owner.

"I have since changed the system so that there will be no issues like that ever. ... So again, I'm very sorry. I did not intend to cause you grief or make you upset, or anything like that. It was not my intention."

Cecile Dumont, a retired Bell Canada employee, told CBC News earlier this month that she was kicked out of the store after Morris refused to honour the tax exemption for a $17 purchase.

On Monday, about two weeks later, she accepted his apology.

"Well thank you very much, Mr. Morris, and I accept your apology," Dumont said.

In addition to changing the cashier computer system to make it easier to accept the cards, Morris made a donation to Ottawa's Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, as well as to efforts to find Maisy Odjick and Shannon Alexander, who are missing from Kitigan Zibi First Nation, north of Ottawa.

Dumont is no longer filing a human rights complaint about the incident.

"I'm really pleased with the apology. ... I believe Mr. Morris is sincere in his apology, and it's a great ending to something that's been incredibly upsetting, both to me and my siblings as well. So I'm very glad that it's been resolved," Dumont said.