Indigenous woman in Saskatchewan says she was racially profiled by Sears employee

Sears Canada's new revised logo included a maple leaf.
Sears Canada's new revised logo included a maple leaf. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. – An Indigenous woman says she was racially profiled and insulted by a Sears employee at a store in northern Saskatchewan.

B. Helen Ermine says the employee – who didn’t have a name tag — approached her while she was walking with items to a till in the store in Prince Albert on Wednesday.

She says he told her to put the merchandise down, insinuating she was going to steal it, and made racially charged comments while accusing her of not being able to afford the items.

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Ermine says the employee told her to leave, and when she came back with her husband intending to speak to the manager, the employee shouted at them and locked the door, not letting them in.

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Sears Canada spokesman Vincent Power confirmed an incident occurred between a loss-prevention employee and Ermine, but said Sears would describe the incident quite differently.

Power said he was unable to provide details of what happened due to privacy concerns, but added Sears would not tolerate discrimination in any form.

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“We believe that how our staff dealt with the couple was fair in light of the circumstances surrounding what occurred,” Power said in an email to CKBI.

“We would not tolerate discrimination in any form.”

Power said Ermine and her husband should contact the Sears store management team directly to discuss the matter further, and said he has also brought the incident to the attention of their regional loss-prevention manager.

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Ermine talked to police, but they told her to contact Sears’ management before filing an official report.

She says she’s tried to contact the store manager without success.

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