Some Canadian Starbucks shops to close for bias, inclusivity training

Starbucks Canada president Michael Conway said sessions will will address implicit bias

Company-operated Starbucks locations in Canada will be closed for an afternoon in June for bias and inclusivity training, following a similar move by U.S. storefronts after a video of two men being arrested while waiting for a friend went viral.

In a memo Friday, Starbucks Canada president Michael Conway said the training sessions will address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion and safety training.

“We must never be complacent in our desire to be inclusive and to live our Mission and Values in every community we serve,” he said.

Those stores will be closed for the afternoon on June 11.

In April, a video posted to Twitter shows the two men being arrested for refusing to leave the Starbucks after an employee denied them a bathroom key, saying they needed to first buy something.

The police did not lay charges and are reviewing the incident.

Protests erupted in Philadelphia, both in front of the particular store and on the streets.

The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations is investigating the incident.

In a statement, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said he had apologized to the two men for what he called a “reprehensible” incident.

“I’ve spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it,” said Johnson.

With files from Katya Slepian, Black Press Media

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