A Calgary hairdresser was given a $1,000 ticket after an Alberta Health Services (AHS) inspector persuaded the salon owner to provide a haircut, according to the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF).
Amin Dagher owns the Hair Cru Salon in Calgary, and runs it with his family. When salon services were outlawed on December 11, 2020 in Alberta, he was permitted to keep the salon open to sell personal care services only.
On December 27, Mr. Dagher heard a knock on the salon door, only to see a young woman who he believed to be a customer, according to the JCCF.
Upon letting her into the salon, Mr. Dagher explained that the woman asked for a haircut. While he was not permitted to provide hair services at the time, the JCCF explained that Mr. Dagher agreed as he was desperate to make income, with his business barely hanging on.
When Mr. Dagher agreed, the woman proceeded to announce that her name was Anne Hoang and that she was an AHS health inspector. She then fined Mr. Dagher, informing him that he had broken the law.
She didn’t stop there.
The JCCF reported that Ms. Hoang went as far as to issue a notice to the public that Mr. Dagher was “providing hair cutting services to the public”, falsely leading people to think that he was regularly providing such services. She also posted the notice on the door of the salon and told Mr. Dagher that removing it would be an offence under the Public Health Act.
The AHS issued a statement in which it stated that “the inspector did not ask for a haircut, but instead asked if the business was offering haircutting services.” However, Mr. Dagher told CTV Calgary that the woman asked for a haircut, and persuaded him to agree.
“I wasn’t very happy the way she trapped me like that,” Dagher told CTV Calgary.
Mr. Dagher pleaded not guilty to the ticket and is being represented by the JCCF.
“The oppressive orders of the Chief Medical Officer of Health are choking the life out of small businesses in Alberta and depriving people of the ability to feed their families. For Mr. Dagher, to have an AHS inspector bait him into agreeing to give her a haircut is to kick him while he’s down,” said Justice Centre Lawyer James Kitchen, adding that the entire event was a set up.
Kitchen stated that the actions of the inspector were “repugnant” and “a gross abuse of power,” in a time when the business owner was already struggling with the “destructive lockdown policies” that were in place.
“The cruelty of AHS inspectors using the allure of much-needed income to target and ticket small business owners is especially hypocritical,” he concluded.
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