10/15/2014 06:36 EDT | Updated 12/15/2014 05:59 EST

Dollarama's 1-Student-In-Store Policy Called Discriminatory

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A downtown Toronto Dollarama store's policy to only allow one student in at a time to prevent stealing isn't sitting well with local high school students who pop by the shop for a treat on their lunch hour.

The Dollarama, located in Toronto's Annex neighbourhood near Bloor Street West and Bathurst Street, only permits one high school student to enter at a time. Two hired security guards enforce the policy, while other customers walk in and out without being stopped.

The store has increased its security measures to ensure employee safety following disruptive behaviour from groups of students, Dollarama said in a statement.

"Everybody's not stealing," says James, a student at nearby Central Technical School. "We walk in there, buy our stuff."

He complained that the store is keeping students waiting out in the cold.

But, a nearby store owner, Soo Yoo, reports having similar problems. She's hired her niece to help out — only during lunch hour.

She's tried telling the students to come into her store in smaller groups, but says they mostly ignore her.

Still, human rights lawyer Kate Sellar says Dollarama's actions count as discrimination.

"You have to provide services equally," she says, "and you can't treat people differently based on their age."

But Dollarama says the large-group policy is in place at all of its stores. At the Annex location, high school students happen to be the ones coming in large groups because of the store's proximity to schools with big student populations.


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