Municipal Election 2010

Sean Gibson Explains Restraining Order

By Ryan McGreal
Published September 30, 2010

Sean Gibson, a candidate for Ward 3, has been dogged by controversy over a notice of contravention and a restraining order (PDF links) the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities issued this summer against his business The Ontario Barber Association (website currently offline).

Gibson (see his RTH Election Candidate Page) runs The Barber Centre at 510 Main St. E. in Hamilton, and The Ontario Barber Association, a private career college that provides barber training.

According to the Ministry, the Ontario Barber Association violated Section 38 and Section 11 of the Private Career Colleges Act. Section 38 requires that a private career college displays its certificate of registration conspicuously at the entrance or where it can easily be seen. Section 11 prohibits advertising an unregistered private career college.

According to the notice of restraining order, designates of the Superintendent of Private Career Colleges saw a notice on the Ontario Barber Association website advertising a two-month barbering course. This prompted a visit to the Barber Shop on July 15, 2010, where a sign advertised, "Ontario's first educational facility for barbers."

The notice reads:

Designates of the Superintendent entered the shop and spoke with Sean Gibson, a director of the association. He acknowledged that the education is provided in that shop. Designates of the Superintendent asked about the cost and duration of the program. Mr. Gibson confirmed that the course is 8 weeks in length and costs $3,000.

A follow-up email on July 23 asked Gibson so specify the number of students enrolled since January 2009, the amounts paid by each student for enrollment (including supporting materials), the number of instructional contact hours with each student, the current cost and number of hours, and any other courses being offered.

Gibson replied on July 25 in an email "that intimated he would not be providing any further information to the Ministry."

The Ministry followed up on July 26, and on July 27 Gibson replied again, writing, "While we are teaching barbering at this location 'The Barber Centre' The suggestion that our facility is a Private Careers College is erroneous."

The Ministry sent another email reminding Gibson of the July 27 deadline to provide the requested information and warning that he may be subject to penalties for contravening the Private Career Colleges Act.

Gibson did not provide the information, and the Ministry issued the notice of contravention and notice of restraining order on July 30. Gibson was ordered to pay $2,000 in penalties.

RTH contacted Gibson to ask him for more details on what happened. Gibson agreed to an email interview.

Interview With Sean Gibson

Raise the Hammer (RTH): What was the Ministry's objection to your business?

Sean Gibson (SG): The Ministry does not object to my business as a Barber Shop. The problem that the Ministry has is with me charging students to learn the vocation of Barber. However it's not the fact that I am charging but rather how much. I was told that if I charge under $1,000 and spend less than 40 hours educating students, there is no violation.

Our educational facility has been open since July 2006. Laura Thompson of the Hamilton Spectator wrote an article regarding the opening of the school and the Ministry of Training and Colleges were well aware of the institution at that time. The Ministry actually commented on The Barber Centre in the article. (The Barber Centre is the only institution of its kind in Canada).

If we were in such violation, why weren't we issued the restraining order then? The Ministry answers to complaints made by students (complaint driven), but there were no such complaints made about The Barber Centre. This case was a proactive position that the Superintendent took while surfing the internet looking for violations.

The Ministry came across our facility (The Barber Centre) considering we are the only one in the country. They noticed we were charging $2000 for a 2-month courses; this is not in line with the Act. This matter was brought to my attention after four years, hence I no longer offer a two-month Barber Educational program.

RTH: What communications transpired between you and the Ministry that led to the restraining order?

SG: In early July, Cliff McLeod, an Investigator from the Compliance and Enforcement Unit of the Ministry, walked into my business at 510 Main Street and explained that we were in violation of the Act. Prior to that, we stopped communication with the Ministry around 2003.

I explained to Cliff that we haven't had a student since 2009 and we will no longer be offering the program since he identified we were in violation. This wasn't enough: he requested the names, dates, and personal information of ALL the students and seminars we have ever had. To that I said no, hence the restraining order.

The Government was asking me to divulge personal information with no explanation other than "because we said so." I chose to take the fine and have the restraining order put forward. I felt that this was another tactic to discourage me and our association against our efforts to make headway in the industry.

We used to work and collaborate with the Ministry from 1999-2003 until talks fell apart because the Ministry suggested that the Hairstyling Industry already encompasses barbering. That was the primary reason the Ontario Barber Association was established.

RTH: How did you ultimately respond to the restraining order?

SG: I recognized that through legislation, we were in violation of the Act. This was brought to my attention by Cliff McLeod on the day of his visit. I explained to him we haven't had a student since October 2009 he still found it necessary to put forward the restraining order.

"It's okay to teach for free," said Mr.McLeod. OYAP and the many High Schools we work with benefit from these services. Although we are in business to make profit, it was extremely discouraging to hear such disparaging news. We no longer offer the 2-Month program as of today and the site has been removed and were compliant with the Act.

RTH: Is the Ministry now satisfied with your response?

SG: YES! We are no longer in violation. I really didn't understand why so many people have made such a fuss about this matter. The community has truly suffered in this case and this is another example of how progressive, community building, job prosperity, and youth mentoring, have been SHUT DOWN again...what a shame.

RTH: Do you agree with the Ministry's position?

SG: NO! the Ministry is so wrong on this one.... But we have been fighting since 2003 and were not going to stop now. I believe in my trade, I believe in my city and I can't image to have Canada's ONLY barber institution anywhere else but Hamilton. We are worth fighting for.

RTH: Have you paid the $2,000 fine?

SG: No, I have not paid the $2000 fine. Andrea Horwath's office has been working with us for several years concerning this matter and they are currently helping us address that issue as well.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

32 Comments

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By FenceSitter (anonymous) | Posted September 30, 2010 at 10:26:16

Any coincidence that the visit from the ministry happens a few months prior to the election?

Was someone, who may be a ward 3 competitor, resposible for the anti-Sean comments on a previous post?

Better watch your back Sean.

Thanks Ryan for posting this thread, thanks Sean for responding.

Election antics aside, I would hope my new (hopefully new) ward 3 representative will support Sean and the Pearl Company in their pursuits.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted September 30, 2010 at 14:42:43

If you read up on the Ward 3 challengers you will find Sean Gibson is one of the only ones who constantly talks about the importance of people.

I haven't made my mind up yet, but Mr. Gibson at least seems to see a big part of the puzzle the other challengers are missing.

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted October 01, 2010 at 09:16:29

Dear "FenceSitter",

As one of the persons who made one of the "anti-Sean" comments on the previous post (and yes, I continue to believe that Mr. Gibson's refusal to answer straightforward and simple questions in public is craven and cowardly) I assure you that I am unaffiliated to any Ward 3 candidate and that my comments are my own as a private citizen.

Note that I am a registered user of this site unlike yourself. My full name is Craig Burley, I live in Ward 1. I am listed in a number of professional directories including the Law Society of Upper Canada if you need to contact me.

I think you should reveal your identity, and apologize for your insinuation that someone else is responsible for my comments.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted October 01, 2010 at 09:35:10

I think you should reveal your identity, and apologize for your insinuation that someone else is responsible for my comments. - Tybalt

Get over it Tybalt, FenceSitter doesn't even mention you.

You're bordering on "protesting too much".

Reading through many of the comments about Sean Gibson on this site I can see why he may not want to answer questions in this forum. I don't necessarily agree with his decision but I can understand it. Mr. Gibson provided contact information, have you tried calling and asking him the questions you want answered (as someone not even from ward 3) before labelling him "craven and cowardly"?

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By FenceSitter (anonymous) | Posted October 01, 2010 at 10:04:08

Tybalt, your comments on the previous thread were a relevant response. You asked questions of Sean that I do agree with. I too was concerned about the lack of response from Sean regarding the Pearl. I am also unsure why Sean has a problem with this forum.

My concern was the introduction of information regarding Seans issues with the Ministry and associated comments, most of which appeared to be from anonymous users of screen names no one here would be familiar with.

My use of the term anti-sean may not have been the best use of words. I have no problem with valid comments/questions from users, registered or anonymous.

Without having the level of legal knowlege of both Sean's and the Pearls situation that you may have, my concerns are a little more simple.

I see two businesses who support their local community, who appear to be getting very little support form the City.

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted October 01, 2010 at 12:46:09

Thanks FenceSitter. I should be a little less touchy. But as to Sean Gibson, he won't answer questions in public, he's made that clear. We deserve better.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted October 01, 2010 at 13:07:28

But as to Sean Gibson, he won't answer questions in public, he's made that clear.

Except he just did ^

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted October 02, 2010 at 14:53:40

I am a resident of ward 3 so I actually have an interest in this. I see no problem with Sean Gibson's response and I take offense to those who maliciously attack him dishonestly

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By EugeneM (registered) | Posted October 04, 2010 at 00:28:44

I think FenceSitter may be referring to me ;-)

Sean Gibson is running for public office. He wants to represent the people. People that he is neither part of the resident or business community with. He MUST be above and beyond reproach. He SHOULD have disclosed this information, this "fight" with the Province as soon as he declared his candidacy or as soon as this came up, whichever came first.

HE DID NOT.

He chose to keep this information quiet. He chose to hope that no one would notice. He's only answering these questions now, revealing this information now, because he has been forced to. Not because he wanted to.

That, to me, speaks to his dishonesty in general. A lack of openness and trustworthiness. I do not want a person like this representing me in Council.

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By omro (registered) | Posted October 04, 2010 at 08:24:17

"If you read up on the Ward 3 challengers you will find Sean Gibson is one of the only ones who constantly talks about the importance of people."

Have you looked at Gibson's website... there's nothing there about his platform, nothing about his policies, just a few paragraphs about his community involvement and promotional material for the OBA... nothing substantive, progressive, inspiring, concrete, nothing!

"I see two businesses who support their local community."

He states that he uses the OBA as a tool for tackling unemployment. However, the OBA isn't even in the Ward he wants to represent (it's in Ward 2), nor is it tackling unemployment by charging people for what was illegitimate training at the time, nor can he guarantee that all of the people he's trained will set up businesses within the Ward.

He may talk about the people, but a degree of community involvement won't actively improve the Ward. He needs to have grass-roots initiatives and a viable plan to improve the Ward, which will have the knock-on effect of improving the lives of its inhabitants and businesses. I don't see this, only vagueness.

Comment edited by omro on 2010-10-04 07:32:16

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted October 04, 2010 at 10:06:19

Have you looked at Gibson's website... there's nothing there about his platform, nothing about his policies, just a few paragraphs about his community involvement and promotional material for the OBA... nothing substantive, progressive, inspiring, concrete, nothing! - omro

And how is that different from Mr. Tetley's?

I see very little of substance from any ward 3 candidate's platform. No one is saying how they are going to do anything.

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By omro (registered) | Posted October 04, 2010 at 10:49:38

From Paul Tetley's website http://www.paultetley.com

I think that gives a lot more substance than Sean Gibson or any of the other candidate websites that I've read.


The Issue: Lack of Engagement with City Hall.
What We Need: Monthly Town Hall Meetings

  • Held in all Ward 3 Neighbourhoods
  • Keeping you connected to City Hall
  • To give you a voice at City Hall

The Issue: Lack of Jobs, Businesses and Opportunities in Ward 3. What We Need: A Community Improvement Plan

  • Bringing Jobs and Businesses Back to Ward 3
  • Hamilton Industrial Heritage Building Association
  • Incentives, Programs, and a Fee structure that allows and encourages the re-use of our historic industrial buildings
  • Working to rebuild Hamilton's Industrial Tax Base, and shifting the burden off the residential taxpayer.

The Issue: What is going to happen with Ivor Wynne Stadium? What We Need: A voice for Ivor Wynne Stadium

  • To get what we want for Ivor Wynne
  • Protect and Improve our Neighbourhood
  • No More Backroom Deals!

The Issue: Improving Quality of Life for All Ward 3 Residents. What We Need: Arts, Culture & Recreation Plan

  • A Ward-Wide Plan for Parks, Playgrounds and Community Gardens
  • Neighbourhood Recreational and Cultural programs that fit Ward 3's needs
  • An Urban Forest Plan to protect our tree-lined streets

The Issue: Our Neighbourhoods and Our Tax Dollars. Improving our Neighbourhoods & Showing Results for your Tax Dollars

  • Proactively Enforcing Bylaws; Property Standards, Illegal Rentals, Garbage
  • Community Policing for Safer Neighbourhoods
  • Preservation is Status Quo, and is not good enough

(comment edited by administrator at commenter's request)

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2010-10-04 10:13:57

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted October 04, 2010 at 22:15:45

Let me make this perfectly clear. I feel the attacks on Sean Gibson are unfair and although I'm not inclined to vote for him I will not vote for any candidate who supports such malicious attacks on his electoral opponents

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By EugeneM (registered) | Posted October 04, 2010 at 23:55:45

I am not affiliated with any candidate. I have met Gibson, Morelli and McGrimmond. I haven't met Tetley, DiMillo or Black. I have no allegiance to anyone yet, as I've only decided who I won't be voting for and not who I will be.

I feel that Gibson was dishonest. He sinned by omission. He charged people for training that he was unable to provide a legal accreditation for. I feel that he was unfair to them. I know I would feel ripped off if I had paid $3,000 for training which had no official qualification backing it. Barbering is ages old and his story does not ring true.

What you see as malicious attacks, others see as shady dealings being brought to light. There are enough shady characters in City Hall and too many backroom deals already. I will not vote for anyone with a questionable character. I hope that others will vote likewise.

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By mugrat (registered) | Posted October 05, 2010 at 06:33:23

"I am not affiliated with any candidate. I have met Gibson, Morelli and McGrimmond. I haven't met Tetley, DiMillo or Black. I have no allegiance to anyone yet, as I've only decided who I won't be voting for and not who I will be."

To: EugeneM,

Paul Tetley is a good guy who is looking for change in Ward 3. He is always happy to talk about his platform, all you have to do is contact him and he will get back to you.

PH: 905.481.1585 EMAIL: PAUL@PAULTETLEY.COM

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted October 05, 2010 at 09:56:56

I think that gives a lot more substance than Sean Gibson or any of the other candidate websites that I've read. - Omro

My point is you can ask "How?" after almost every single one of the statements made on Mr. Tetley (and other candidate's) websites.

Bring jobs and business back to ward 3. How?

Working to rebuild Hamilton's Industrial Tax Base, and shifting the burden off the residential taxpayer. How?

I'm not going to get too excited about any candidate's wish list. They can tell you a bit about the candidate's priorities and that's about it.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted October 05, 2010 at 10:09:42

True Kiely, but let's face it. Each councillor only represents one vote. No individual councillor can rebuild Hamilton's industrial tax base on their own, they can only promise to 'work' to rebuild it through their votes, committee work, and small scale facilitation in their wards. Knowing what each candidate's priorities are is therefore crucial, because it tells us how we can expect them to vote on specific issues, what sub-committees they are likely to join, and what sort of activities in their ward they will work to promote. You can't ask for much more than that.

Comment edited by highwater on 2010-10-05 09:10:12

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By Gary Santucci (anonymous) | Posted October 05, 2010 at 15:03:23

Community Improvement Plans were legislated into existence by the Ontario Provincial Government in 2006. The only area in Hamilton that operates under a CIP concept is the Downtown Core. A community improvement plan offers incentives for investment and job creation. The second point of Tetley's platform has this approach. Cities like Windsor, Kingston, Belleville and others have used them and are using CIP's to great effect. In fact Windsor has just designated the whole city for a CIP. There are a lot of tools in the tool box. Just open it up and pull one out, roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Gary Santucci

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By mugrat (registered) | Posted October 07, 2010 at 08:51:22

I have Sean Gibson's card, his solution to the "unemployment crisis" is to train barbers. Really, he is going to solve unemployment with barbers. There is no mention the barbers training centre was operating illegaly, lol.

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By EugeneM (registered) | Posted October 07, 2010 at 10:03:08

Really? Is that it?!

Is that his solution to everything? Cut some hair!

He's a joke, not a candidate.

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By mugratoffline (anonymous) | Posted October 08, 2010 at 19:12:29

Not on my computer, but my friend just got another one of his cards delivered today (same one as a few weeks ago), and here is a quote directly from the card

"In dealing with the unemployment crisis, one of the ways Sean has tackled this problem is by establishing The Ontario Barber Association. The Associations facilitates programs through local businesses that trains and educates individuals eager to learn the trade of Barbering as well as providing placement for them throughout the city. The Barber Centre operated by Sean is more than a local barber shop, it is an educational facility that promotes learning and growth within the trade."

Neglected to mentione the individuals needed to be eager and have $3,000. I believe that order you directed us to Eugene said he couldn't advertise, but he seems to be advertising with his campaigning.

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By jimharvie (registered) - website | Posted October 10, 2010 at 09:07:47

Sean Gibson: "If we were in such violation, why weren't we issued the restraining order then?" So if I am not charged right away I am not guilty?

Sean Gibson "…he requested the names, dates, and personal information of ALL the students and seminars we have ever had. To that I said no, hence the restraining order. The Government was asking me to divulge personal information with no explanation other than "because we said so." Maybe so they could contact students who paid for an illegal course, so they could seek refunds?

Sean Gibson "I recognized that through legislation, we were in violation of the Act." Oh, so Gibson is only guilty because there was legislation. How else does one become guilty? Gibson never bothered to inquire whether there were any rules about starting a college before doing so?

These responses seem to me to be more of a justification than an explanation. I have no doubt that Gibson is sincere in his wish to train barbers better. He ran into a few roadblocks in our big provincial system and did not have the patience to deal with it. He petulantly went forward with his plans with a hell with the consequences attitude, and now is surprised that there are consequences. His issues are with provincial legislation and authorities. Equating his problems with the Pearl Company fiasco is either disingenuous or politically opportunistic. He strikes me as a "true believer". His motives are pure so we should not question his tactics. This is harmless in an individual but dangerous in a political representative.

Comment edited by jimharvie on 2010-10-10 08:26:56

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By Seangibson (registered) - website | Posted October 14, 2010 at 00:26:43

I'm happy that many people are receiving my literature, I've dropped most of them off personally. While some still continue to harp on this Provincial matter I've knocked on 3000 doors in the last 2 weeks myself. We have only a few days left in this election, if you would like to meet me personally I would love to speak with you 289-921-8683. That includes you as well EugeneM lol. I know you live in Ward 1, however we have NEVER met; I would remember! For anyone wanting a one on one with Sean Gibson visit me or call me to come visit you. Looking forward to hearing from you all.

Seangibson510@hotmail.com www.gibson2010.ca

God Bless

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By Seangibson (registered) - website | Posted October 14, 2010 at 01:35:41

I know cutting hair is not the solution to everything, but my volunteering demonstrates how I'm active in our area. It's not much but those who benifit from our work don't seem to mind. This atmosphere seem very angry and hostile... Has any other candidate responed on this thread? Really looking forward to the debate tommorow .

Sean

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By Morelli1 (anonymous) | Posted October 16, 2010 at 21:06:58

Sean seems to be both self-serving and a communist.

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By curiouskat (anonymous) | Posted October 17, 2010 at 08:20:02

"Sean seems to be both self-serving and a communist."

and your name is offensive. please dont use a candidates name when bashing another, be somewhat respectful.

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By EugeneM (registered) | Posted October 18, 2010 at 15:42:21

Sean. We have met. I live in Ward 3. Do you?

I personally believe you're a dangerous person to put into political power. You side step provincial laws when it makes money for you. You side step federal laws when it allows you to bring non-citizens to the polls to vote in your favor. You are too much like the current crop of politicians in power at City Hall.

I'd rather see Morelli keep his seat than to see you take it. I feel that strongly about it.

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By kbc (registered) | Posted October 19, 2010 at 00:19:52

Not to be labour the issue, but, have you ever had a hair cut from Sean or any of the barbers that he has trained? Where do you get your hair cut? Have you ever sat in his shop and seen first hand what he's doing for this Ward? I think it would be safe to say that he knows more about the issues that this ward faces than both the current councilor or Mr Tetley. I respect Mr Tetley for wanting to be a part of the change that is needed for this ward but I don't think he has a firm grip of the scope in which it needs to change. i've worked on the streets of this ward from north to south and east to west... There are lot of deeper issues that I think Sean has a pulse on than some of the other contenders in this ward. One thing that will happen regardless of who wins or loses, I know that Sean will continue to support this community regardless of if he wins or loses and have the feeling that Mr. Tetley will do the same... This is a two person race and the incumbent needs to graciously bow out.

  • Big Kev

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By EugeneM (registered) | Posted October 19, 2010 at 10:23:14

No Sean has not cut my hair. Like a lot of men, all I need is a good razor, so I have no use for his services or the services his shop provides in Ward 2.

This is a two person race and the incumbent needs to graciously bow out.

I agree, however the two person race is between DiMillo and Tetley.

Gibson, Black and McGrimmond should certainly bow out. A vote for any of these is a vote to keep Bernie on the council.

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By seangibson (registered) - website | Posted October 26, 2010 at 12:31:34

What an interesting experience…. Unfortunately I placed 3rd which after running for the second time was a little discouraging. I will be still around in 2014, but I think ill leave the politics to someone else. I’ve done more in the last for years to help improve my neighbourhood than any of my fellow candidates, and yesterday I just realized that its not JUST about me getting into office it’s about US becoming healthier. You don’t have to like Sean Gibson, but you should love yourselves enough to recognize the crisis we as a community are in and that its up to us to fix it. The change we are looking for is within us!

Sean Gibson

“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it” Denis P. Kimbro

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By stoett22 (registered) - website | Posted April 04, 2012 at 04:11:33

Sometimes, regulations stand in the way of great business and education, because the government has not found a way to accommodate anomalies and usually just apply the standard rules to everyone.

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By Its All About Politics (anonymous) | Posted October 03, 2012 at 16:52:02

Just read up regarding all of the politics!!! It all comes down to the all mighty $$$$$ Give us a break all we want to do is make an honest living from the careers we have choosen. We have your back Sean. I still have your number from speaking with you in 2009 and then u were gone.

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