Ottawa (November 8, 2017): The WSO has helped implement a kirpan accommodation policy at Regina’s Evraz Place after a group of Sikhs were denied entry because of their kirpans this past summer.
On August 6, 2017, Simarjit Singh Bajwa and his family and friends were stopped from entering Evraz Place in Regina where the annual Queen City EX was being held. The EX includes rides, foods and stalls. Security at Evraz Place spotted the kirpans worn by the group and told them that they considered the kirpan a ‘weapon’ and would not allow them on the premises. Despite their attempts at explaining the religious significance of the kirpan, and offering to conceal the kirpan under their clothing, Simarjit Singh and those with him were not permitted to enter.
Simarjit Singh contacted the WSO for assistance and the organization then reached out to Evraz Place to resolve the situation.
WSO provided information on the kirpan to Evraz Place and about the legal duty to accommodate and as a result, Evraz Place has introduced a kirpan policy for guests. According to the policy, Sikh visitors may wear kirpans of up to 7.5” in length if they are worn in the sheath and restrained in a fabric belt (gatra), underneath the clothing.
WSO President Mukhbir Singh said, “while the Sikh community enjoys a very high profile in Canada these days, we still regularly see cases of Sikhs facing discrimination because of the kirpan and other articles of faith. Legally there is no reason for any prohibition on the kirpan in any public place but sometimes it requires our organization to inform and educate in order to resolve situations. We’re grateful to the management at Evraz Place for having worked with us to ensure Sikhs wearing the kirpan are accommodated in the future. We also thank Simarjit Singh for having reached out to us so we could resolve this for not just him, but the entire community.”
The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of Canadian Sikhs, as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights of all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status.