Due to Ontario's latest lockdown and stay-at-home orders, 32,000 hair stylists across the province have been forced to stop working, and according to the Ontario Professional Hairstylists Association (OPHA), they feel the Ford government is not listening to their concerns.
Association Vice President and Owner of the Tappa Hair Salon at the Carlingwood Shopping Centre in Ottawa Tanya Hill says stylists don't understand why their industry is the only sector of trade currently closed, and they want to know how they can go about reopening.
"In the short term, we want to know why we're not deemed essential -- why we are the only trade that is unable to work, even though we have been following the COVID-19 prevention protocols," Hill questions. "Let's reopen, let's reopen safely, let's remain open and learn from this, and yes, we have to talk about what that recovery funding is going to look like."
Hill called into the Friday talk-back hour of CityNews' The Rob Snow Show, January 22, in hopes that "someone" would be listening to the call. Well, listening-in was the MPP for Ottawa-West Nepean, Jeremy Roberts, who got in contact with her after the segment.
"Actions will speak louder than words, but I am very appreciative that I got his ear and he gave me advise on doing different things to get our association heard," she says. "I am hopeful, but we need to be heard, we want to be at the command table."
The OPHA has been trying to meet with Ontario's minister of labour and its minister of finance, to discuss recovery funding for the salons and a way to reopen, but hasn't heard anything in return.
"There's lot of ongoing conversations happening right now, round tables with our Ministers who are leading the economic recovery and response files," Roberts says. "I think we'll definitely be able to make sure that their voices are included."
However, Roberts could not ensure that they will be able to reopen hair salons during the lockdown.
"It's a decision that fall in the hands of Ontario Public Health, but its not likely given the nature of the profession and the intention of the lockdown to reduce community transmission of COVID-19."
The MPP did ensure that he will be advocating for the OPHA and advising the ministers of their concerns.