Big Mike vs. the hairstylists -

Big Mike vs. the hairstylists

“There’s a history of barbers and hairstylists here feuding”

Big Mike vs. the hairstylists

Photograph by Mitchel Raphael

To hear New Brunswick barbers tell it, they are members of a persecuted race whose very existence is threatened by the province’s hairstylists. As Mike Doucet, of Big Mike’s Barber Shop in Grand Bay and head of the New Brunswick Registered Barbers’ Association, puts it: “There’s a history of barbers and hairstylists here feuding.”

Now the barbers, who number just a few hundred province-wide—there are 7,800 stylists—are seeking to settle another score: they want a law regulating who can use the classic barber’s pole, preventing stylists from appropriating the pole and bringing the province in line with the 40 or so U.S. states that restrict it to licensed barbers. The barbers hope the idea will be tabled next month in the legislature as a private member’s bill; it’s believed it would be the first law of its kind in Canada.

Blaine Harris, the barbers’ registrar, accuses the Cosmetology Association of New Brunswick, the stylists’ group, of encouraging members to use the pole, with its promise of expert men’s haircutting and low prices (barbers there charge between $6 and $12 per cut, stylists often more than that). “When you have a barber’s pole with the red, white and blue stripes on a salon, it misrepresents what that salon is,” says Harris, who contends that stylists can ably apply hair gel but can’t cut hair. Harris wants stylists to use a special stylist’s pole—made by the same Minnesota firm that manufactures the classic pole, it has more blue and the word “stylist” shot through its middle.

But Gaye Cail, executive director of the stylists’ group, argues the barbers are in no position to make demands, saying of the pole: “It’s an icon. Not any one person or organization should own the rights to the barber’s pole.”


Big Mike vs. the hairstylists

  1. This is a simple issue, it is not the individual stylist that is to blame but rather the professional body that represents them that is the issue. They tell the stylists to use the pole nothing can be done to you they are told.

    The Barber Pole is a identifier just like the lights on a police car or ambulance alert you of their presence. There are restrictions on many signs and symbols and we respect that.

    For the Hairstylist there is a pole that is made just for them, easy fix let the barbers use the traditional pole and the stylists use the fancy pole.

  2. How embarrassing, I am embarrassed to be a New Brunswicker, is the government really going to entertain this? I am embarrassed to be a hairstylist/barber. I am embarrassed for our industry, it's time to put this foolishness to rest.

    • Your comments are incorrect, you are not a hairstylist/barber, in New Brunswick you are either a Hairstylist or a Barber the CANB does not permit you to be both. The Barbers Association has tried to allow this but the CANB has fought it every step along the way.

      • I am a hairstylist/barber (period), I am a New Brunswicker (period) and I am embarrassed for the industry (period) and now I am embarrassed for the Barbers Association (period).

  3. On behalf of the Cosmetology Association of New Brunswick, I wish to express our extreme disappointment of the low-end representation of our qualified, properly certified hairstylists in your article BIG MIKE vs the hairstylists, February 21, 2011.This jaded account of the "members of a persecuted race whose very existence is threatened by the province's hairstylists" seems somewhat riddled with questionable facts and accusations. As for the "history of barbers and hairstylists here feuding", it is one-sided, and certainly NOT as your story leads the reader to believe, from our side.

  4. Between 1996 and 1998, the government of New Brunswick hired a consultant who, after much research, determined that the New Brunswick Registered Barbers Association (1958) and the New Brunswick Hairdressers' Association (1962) should be under one governing body. In 1998 the Cosmetology Association of New Brunswick (C.A.N.B.) was formed, much to the liking of an arranged marriage of the two organizations. While holding licences under the provisions of the Cosmetology Act, Barbers were still allowed to call themselves Barbers, and their shops, Barbershops, if they so chose. From these roots, we've grown to an association with approximately 7800 members, of whom 4166 are, certified Hairstylists, with the rest of the membership comprising of Aestheticians, Nail Technicians, Makeup Artists and Salon Proprietors.

  5. In 2007, a few Barbers lobbied to re-instate the New Brunswick Registered Barbers' Association (N.B.R.B.A.) act of 1958 and on May 30, 2007, the act was passed in the legislature. October 2007, just months after receiving their official act, the N.B.R.B.A. and 4 members (including Mr. Harris) launched a court case to personally sue 13 members of the C.A.N.B. for 1.25 million dollars. November 2007Justice Grant dismissed the N.B.R.B.A. claim in its entirety and awarded court costs to the C.A.N.B. May 26,2008 following commencement of said lawsuit, the C.A.N.B. made application to the court to clarify the intent of the N.B.R.B.A. act(court file no S/M/11/08) [42] In summary the questions posed by the application are answered as follows A. dual licences are not permitted B. membership in the N.B.R.B.A. is mandatory for all practicing barbers C. it is unlawful for the N.B.R.B.A. to offer the dual course of a barber/cosmetologist D.the court declines to make a declaration respecting the barber pole regulation.

  6. William T. Grant a Judge of the Court of Queens Bench New Brunswick June 24,2009 the N.B.R.B.A. further challenged Justice Grants decision through the Court of Appeal (129-08-CA) the court found [8] We agree that the appropriate standard of review is correctness. We are also of the view that the application Judge was correct in the interpretations he gave to the Registered Barbers' Act and the Cosmetology Act in making the determinations that are the subject of this appeal. Not only do we agree with his conclusions, but we are also in substantial agreement with his reasons. For these reasons, the appeal is dismissed. The Honourable Justice Richard, The Honourable Justice Bell, The Honourable Justice Quigg Court of Appeal of New Brunswick [2009] N.B.J.No.116 (court costs awarded to the C.A.N.B. in the amount of$3000.00).

  7. As for the barber pole, it is a part of the history of all who cut hair, an icon, not a registered trademark. Mr. Harris should be very careful as to what he says with regard to his statement "stylists can ably apply hair gel but can't cut hair". Perhaps he should re-read the Cosmetology Act to re-familiarize himself with the broad scope of the definition of a Cosmetologist/Hairstylist, and he will find that we very much cut hair as one of the many other practices allowed legally within our license. We would be keenly interested in the source of your information and list of 40 AMERICAN states that the N.B.R.B.A. wishes to be in line with, as we have only found 20, and quite frankly, we are in Canada, where to date, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are the only 2 provinces with barber licences If in fact the N.B.R.B.A. proposed changes to their legislation were set forth as this article reads, that would be different, but one must read it very carefully! The quote "Harris wants stylists to use a special stylist pole-made by the same Minnesota firm

  8. that manufactures the classic pole" poses the following questions 1/ Why does the proposed change to the N.B.R.B.A. legislation ask for domain over ANY combination of red/white/blue? 2/ The Minnesota firm you mention, would that be the Marvy Co., the same company that lists the Barber Supply Company 23 Main West, Saint John, a local representative, the same address as the New Brunswick Registered Barbers Association, the same address as the Lancaster Barber? In closing, the Cosmetology Association of New Brunswick has spent in excess of $80,000.00 in legal fees to protect the members rights granted to us by our legislative act.

  9. The "David vs Goliath" scenario has already been used in court, and although our membership list may be larger in numbers, it is made up of many small individuals too. For an organization that clearly, through their own legislation wanted nothing to do with ours, why do you continually try to have ties to our Association? With this being said you decide if the barbers' needs are being fulfilled by their association, then you decide who truly are the "members of a persecuted race”. Douglas Black, President, C.A.N.B.

  10. I graduated from a cosmetology school, 75% of my haircuts are mens. Am I a cosmetologist or a barber?

    • Doing a haircut on a man or woman doesn't make you a Barber or a Cosmetologist it depends on what your license says .You can choice one or the other but not both . You choose accordingly.The occupations are very much alike with a few differences, the largest being that a Barber is not supposed to "dress the hair" (blow-dry and curl or finish it )Barbers are allowed to shave ,that the short version.

  11. I find it rather funny that the barbers are wanting hairdressers to not display ''their Barbers pole''…the pole does not belong to either the barber nor the hairdresser. The history of the pole goes back to the medical community. Further more I believe they are wanting to tell the public this so people are not understanding the real issues. They have no power in membership numbers and need money and want hard working hairdressers to pay them a fee as well. That would be called 'dual licensing'….Every professional group has a proper association who has rules not only to protect the professional at work but also the customer of the said business. I believe that the ''few'' barbers that are behind this are ruining that proper practice for the future. They have already tried to sue…..same issues….lost …..tried again….lost…..I suspect they havent even paid the cosmetologist the court fees yet from the last time they tried to sue and lost. Please stop and try to ask yourself how you can make the profession better and not try to ruin it.

  12. First of all most of the membership of the New Brunswick Barbers Association is made up of former hairstylist whom now wish to belong to that Association most of the journeymen barbers belong to the Cosmetology of New Brunwick so why should the Barbers Association get the sole right to regulate the Barber Pole when the majority of their members are past Hairstylist. Barbering has not been taught in New Brunswick since 1990 and all journeymen barber licence issued up until 1998 were issued by the NB Apprentiship and Occupational Act and all of these license were to those hairdressers that changelled the exam. And did the President of the NBRBA not graduate himself for the Academy of Hair Design after taking Hairstyling? was this not in 2006

  13. And Oh yes how correct the Barber Pole actually represents bloodletting the red Blood the Blue veins and the white cloth and I don't think either the barber or hairstylist has any intention on performing blood letting I hope. I think I goverment has better things then entertain this one

  14. OK now, class is in!! For your information….Yes the barber's pole is an icon! It belonged to a group of people who,cut hair, shaved and worked with beards, pulled teeth and let blood. This very profession can be traced back hundreds of years ago. The barber's pole has nothing to do with hair cutting. It represented blood letting. The pole being the staff the patient/customer held onto, the white the bandages and the red was the blood. The blue was added representing the blood vessels. The group of people who practiced these procedures were called barber surgeons. A long time ago they were separated; the barber from the dentist or surgeon. NEVER, did hairdressers let blood or pull teeth. True, and thankfully , we barbers no longer practice this part of our heritage. BUT,,, that pole has more to do with us barbers than the hairdressers. It is a part of OUR heritage and is OUR icon. How could this be any clearer? I am sure and certain that many people are sick and tired of this issue. But, even so, why should we just stand by and let the hairdressers association use what never belonged or pertained to them. And Gail, you know better!

  15. Who cares about that history. The Barber Surgeons…happened around the 13th century…get your head out of your butt…we are in 2011…..Ask any surgeons, doctors, dentist see what they think…

  16. OH MY GOODNESS – any 12 year old can walk into ANY store and buy scissors, a cape, hair colour, and a perm – he or she can charge her friends 10 dollars each to do their hair and makeup, fingernails etc – so – are they a stylist, cosmetologist, barber, or are you going to arrest his or her efforts to make money.
    Equate this to a laborer building a home, does he need to be a red seal carpenter… because darn it if I believe the structure of your home ain’t more important that which way you get your hair done… ever