Toronto woman denied haircut files human rights complaint

A Toronto woman has filed a human rights complaint after a downtown barbershop refused to cut her hair, saying it goes against the religious beliefs of the barbers.

'I want the shop to be cited and forced to give haircuts'

Haircuts and human rights

11 years ago
Duration 1:59
Featured VideoA Toronto barbershop's refusal to cut a woman's hair, which stemmed from his Muslim traditions, has spurred a human-rights complaint.

A Toronto barbershop has found itself at the centre of a human rights complaint after its barbers refused to cut a woman's hair.

Faith McGregor, 35, went to the Terminal Barber Shop on Bay Street, back in June looking for a haircut.

But she was turned away. 

Faith McGregor, 35, has filed a human-rights complaint after barbers at a Toronto barbershop refused to cut her hair. (CBC)

The barbers, who are all Muslim, told her their religion didn't allow them to cut the hair of a woman who is not a member of their family.

McGregor filed a human rights complaint.

Barbara Hall, the head of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, said she isn't surprised by the action. 

She said that as Canada becomes more diverse, rights are coming into conflict.

"No right is absolute," said Hall. "So no right trumps another."

At the Muslim Association of Canada, many expressed shock that the complaint is being heard.

"It is in the holy Koran, you are not allowed to cut the hair of a woman," said  Mohammed Hassan. "Only a woman is supposed to cut the hair of another woman."

But McGregor wants that to change.

"I want the shop to be cited and forced to give haircuts in the fashion they provide [barbershop style] to any woman, or man that asks for one," she said.

McGregor is also asking that a sign be posted in the front window stating both men and woman will be served.

The case will go to mediation in February.