The trick here is that I don't know how to be sure that something is or is not illegal. It sounds ridiculous to say that since ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking it but I honestly don't know how to determine this sort of thing aside from paying a lawyer to tell me. I went online and did a ton of searches on Ontario laws at Here and could not find a single thing pertaining to my situation but how can I possibly make the determination for sure that the stores are in the wrong? The store manager claimed that the government sent their "No shoes, no shirt, no service" sign but the sign didn't have any references to laws of any kind, just pictures of feet, rollerblades, dogs and a bare chest with slashes through them. I assume that any regulation posted by the government would note the details of the regulation so it must be that the store makes up its own rules.
What I want to do is head down there and raise some hell with the manager at the store. If he had simply admitted that his store had a rule that shoes were mandatory and that it made no real sense but his head office required it on the basis of liability I wouldn't have had an issue with it. It would still be ridiculous and sad but stores can make their own rules about who goes in so I would respect it. The part that is really infuriating is that he is so willing to give the mantle of government mandate to something that is simply an enforcement of social norms by way of liability claims. Therein lies the other tricky part - the question of whether or not it is illegal to order people to do specific things citing law when that law does not in fact exist. I really don't know what the punishment for making up laws is but I am very tempted to go down there and throw the words 'fraud' and 'discrimination' around and see what kind of response I get.
So here is your chance to help me dear reader: I need to know for sure if there is any government law that mandates wearing shoes and a shirt in any kind of specific store or business in Toronto, Ontario. I also need to know what the law is surrounding people making up laws and trying to enforce them on the public in lieu of just saying "Because I want you to". I am going to be doing my own research in the meantime to try to sort this out but the sooner I can be sure of these things the sooner I can head back down there for a showdown and provide you with the story of the occasion.