Starbucks closing Canadian stores Monday afternoon for anti-bias training


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Starbucks is closing its Canadian stores after 2 p.m. this afternoon for what the company is calling “a learning session on race, bias and inclusion” for its employees.

The training is scheduled for 3 p.m. local time with the Seattle-based coffee chain’s over 1,000 Canadian locations closing shortly ahead of that time.

In a letter to customers, Starbucks Canada president Michael Conway says the training materials will also be available online and added that the training is “about everyone who crosses the threshold feeling safe and welcome.”

Starbuck’s U.S. stores were the first to receive this training on May 29 after two black men were arrested in one of the company’s Philadelphia stores in April.

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were waiting for another man, Andrew Yaffe, who is white, to arrive and start a business meeting.

Nelson and Robinson asked to use the washroom before buying anything. The employee at the store said no and the men were later asked to leave.

The two men did not leave and the employee called the police who arrested the two men. The arrest was filmed and posted to social media.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson apologized to the two men days after the incident occurred several times and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross has also apologized.

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Melissa is a reporter at Vancouver Is Awesome and has worked primarily in radio and online media. She grew up in Ontario, went to school in Halifax and worked in Northern B.C. before moving to Vancouver. If you've got a story to share email: