01 February 2016

Edmonton shoe store's 'no-veil' policy unlikely to withstand human rights challenge, lawyer says

The owner of an Edmonton shoe repair store who refused to serve a Muslim teen wearing a burka says his policy of not serving people who wear facial coverings has nothing to do with race or religion.

But a Calgary labour and employment lawyer says the store owner could have a difficult time establishing a strong defence if sued for discrimination under Alberta's Human Rights Act.

As CBC reported Monday, 19-year-old Sarii Ghalab recounted being turned away twice from Edmonton Shoe Repair in Northgate Centre. She was first turned away on Jan. 27, when she said she went in to have her broken shoe fixed and was denied service, and a second time when she returned days later to deliver flowers and a note to the shop owner, explaining why she wears a burka.

On Monday, CBC again reached out to store owner Ryan Vale, who said his store has a "no veil" policy. [CBC/Radio-Canada] Read more