Toronto Restaurant to Pay $10,000 For Asking Black Customers to Prepay for Meals

Chinatown restaurant to pay for human rights violation

A Toronto business, Hong Shing Chinese Restaurant, has been ordered to pay $10,000 in compensation for a human rights violation stemming from a 2014 incident when a server asked four black customers to prepay for their meals.

Adjudicator Esi Codjoe determined that Emile Wickham and his three friends, who were out for a late-night birthday dinner, were ostensibly treated as thieves in-waiting. Hong Shing is located on Dundas Street.

Wickham had questioned the request at the time, asking other customers if they had received similar treatment. Other diners said they were not asked to prepay, and the server admitted as much to Wickham and his party. They were the only black customers in the restaurant at the time.

β€œHis mere presence as a Black man in a restaurant was presumed to be sufficient evidence of his presumed propensity to engage in criminal behaviour,” Codjoe wrote in her in decision.

After determining they were the only patrons treated this way, Wickham and his friends asked for a refund and left Hong Shing.

The restaurant informed The Globe and Mail that ownership has changed since the incident, but they did not respond to any further questions. Colin Li is listed as the current owner, who took over the business from his parents in 2017.

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