According to spokesperson Amélie Régis, Boucher will now receive a warning.
“All the same, the STM reiterates that this type of activity has to take place outside the turnstiles for questions of fluidity and security,” she told Global News.
Boucher said he was standing with his arms wide open, wearing his usual garb — a green T-shirt that reads free hugs — when he was approached by two STM inspectors.
“They asked me if I had a permit,” Boucher explained on his blog.
“Surprised, I asked which permit?”
He said one of the two inspectors then started flipping through the pages of a little booklet to find a rule that applied to what he was doing.
Boucher was fined for contravening Rule 17, subsection II of the section VIII of law R-036:
“In a Metro station, after obtaining the authorization of the Société, it is permitted to offer for sale or lease services or merchandise, or to exhibit or distribute such services or merchandise, subject to the other restrictions in the present By-law. Under any other circumstance or in any other place, such activities are forbidden.”
He started giving out free hugs a year and a half ago, saying it all started at the Berri Metro station.
“I had a bad morning and I met someone who was giving free hugs and I decided to take it,” he said.
“This guy changed it. It’s all I needed to get a good day.”