ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਕਾ ਖਾਲਸਾ ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ ਕੀ ਫਤਿਹ
What a year 2022 was! It was filled with many challenges but with the support of the community, we were able to continue our fight to uphold and promote the rights of Sikhs in Canada. With a new, diverse, and energized board, we worked hard to make a positive difference.
I sometimes get asked, what the WSO does? In a nutshell, our organization has 4 main pillars:
Human Rights and Civil Liberties - Our Legal team advises and advocates on behalf of Sikhs in Canada who have experienced violations of their human rights and civil liberties. Sikhs across Canada still face issues regarding the accommodation of their articles of faith in the workplace or schools.
Community Development - We have many community capacity-building initiatives, such as the Sikh Family Helpline, Sikh Youth Leadership Institute, and the Sikh Mentorship Program. These programs were developed to address key gaps and meet the unique needs of our community.
Advocacy - Protecting the interests of Canadian Sikhs requires vigilance and sustained advocacy. We endeavour to be active in meeting with decision-makers and ensuring the Sikh voice is heard and responded to with meaningful action.
Media Engagement - We monitor local and national media in order to identify and respond to issues that matter to the Sikh community. We act as a credible spokesperson for Sikhs in Canada. We have also expanded our reach to ensure we are relevant in Punjabi media and social media channels.
One of the most impactful issues for the WSO, and for me personally, has been our struggle against Bill 21. This year our legal team appeared at the Quebec Court of Appeals in our ongoing legal challenge of this racist law. While we wait for the verdict, we remain confident that the courts will recognize how unjust and discriminatory this law is. This year we also worked on numerous accommodations of Sikh articles of faith including dastaar accommodations at worksites and PPE for Sikh healthcare workers. We also continue to advocate for international students and the struggles they face with exploitative post-secondary, housing and employment systems. Lastly, we continued to monitor and confront foreign interference against the Sikh community. We are grateful for the opportunity to do seva for our community. This work is only possible with the generous financial support of our donors. I would like to thank you all for continuing to support the work of WSO. If you are not a monthly recurring donor, please sign up now at www.worldsikh.org/dasvandmonthly. Your contributions will ensure that WSO can continue to be the credible and informed voice on Sikh issues and advocate effectively at all levels of government and across all sectors.
President, World Sikh Organization of Canada