Canadian city of Toronto apologises to Sikh security guards over N95 mask row

Updated on Jul 06, 2022 03:14 PM IST
Toronto news: Mayor John Tory said he 'strongly' believes no one should be subject to discrimination for their religious beliefs.
3M, Honeywell and a few others make N95 and N99 face masks (File)
3M, Honeywell and a few others make N95 and N99 face masks (File)

The Canadian city of Toronto has apologised to the World Sikh Organization of Canada for any delay' in reinstating Sikh security guards hired by contracted service providers who may have been terminated over a 'no-beard' policy that forced them to choose between their jobs and their faith.

A report by the Toronto Sun said over 100 guards had been fired over a rule that requires them to be clean-shaven so they can wear N95 masks.

The Sun cited a legal counsel for the Sikh group as saying private contractors told the Sikhs they were following city orders and either fired or transferred those asking for an exemption based on religious requirements.

Last month city officials a complaint was filed over a rule directing guards to wear N95 face masks directly over their face - which does not allow for facial hair that is a key part of the Sikh religion.

City officials have now said they will allow 'under-mask beard covers' as an option for individuals who wish to maintain facial hair as a tenet of their faith, Canada's CBC News reported Tuesday.

Essentially, 'under-mask beard covers' are tight-fitting covers over the head, as well as chin and cheeks, over which the N95 mask can be worn.

"The technique, also known as Singh Thattha Method, is used by many Sikh people in the medical community and has been found to be highly effective in respirator-fit testing," city officials said.

Toronto has also directed security service providers to follow its new order. "... abide by all human rights legislation and require contractors to also comply... will not accept any contractors failing to accommodate religious freedoms," an official statement said.

The Sikh group's counsel, Balpreet Singh, told CBC News: "I'm glad the city has finally arrived with a solution that works for these Sikh security guards... a little bit disappointed it took this long."

Toronto Mayor John Tory said he 'strongly' believes no one should be subject to discrimination for their religious beliefs.


    Follow the latest breaking news and developments from India and around the world with Hindustan Times' newsdesk. From politics and policies to the economy and the environment, from local issues to national events and global affairs, we've got you covered.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Japan's minister of state for measures for declining birthrate Masanobu Ogura. (REUTERS/Issei Kato)

    Japan's male minister tried ‘pregnancy belly’ to address falling birthrate issue

    Masanobu Ogura and two other male lawmakers were to keep the 7.3 kg (16 pound) pregnancy bellies on while going about their daily routines, in order to understand the burden on the body of carrying a child, the Sankei newspaper reported at the time.

  • This satellite image provided by Planet Labs PBC shows destroyed Russian aircraft at Saki Air Base after an explosion Tuesday, August 9, 2022, in the Crimean Peninsula, the Black Sea peninsula seized from Ukraine by Russia and annexed in March 2014. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)

    Ukraine says 9 Russian warplanes destroyed in Crimea blasts

    Ukrainian officials stopped short of publicly claiming responsibility for the explosions, while mocking Russia’s explanation that a careless smoker might have caused ammunition at the Saki air base to catch fire and blow up. Analysts also said that explanation doesn’t make sense and that the Ukrainians could have used anti-ship missiles to strike the base.

  • Several Public health experts have warned that the H1N1 virus along with Covid-19 could cause a "twindemic" in the Himalayan country. (Representation purpose)

    Nepal battles 'Twindemic' as swine flu wreaks havoc amid rising Covid cases

    According to the World Health Organisation's Global Influenza Surveillance, at least 57 cases of H1N1 infection have been reported since June 6 and the infection of 55 cases of AH3 virus also known as Hong Kong flu have been also reported in the same period.

  • Tesla and SpaceX founder and chief engineer Elon Musk.

    Elon Musk seeks to question Twitter employees who check bot accounts

    Elon Musk's legal team is demanding that Twitter Inc turn over the names of employees responsible for calculating what percentage of the social media site's users are bot and spam accounts, according to a source familiar with the matter. Twitter and Musk are in the discovery phase of the lawsuit and readying for a trial scheduled to begin Oct. 17 in Delaware. Twitter and a lawyer for Musk declined to comment.

  • Ousted Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena, File)

    Thailand allows Rajapaksa to temporarily stay in country, but has one condition

    Thailand foreign minister Don Pramudwinai said that the Sri Lankan government led by President Ranil Wickremesinghe did not object to Gotabaya Rajapaksa's visit to Thailand. However, the former president need to figure out his accommodation himself as the Thai government has refused to make any arrangements for the same.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, August 11, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now