Passport Canada Apologizes For Refusing Passports to Sikhs

August 18, 2007

Author: Kelly Sinoski

Source: The Vancouver Sun

SURREY - Passport Canada will issue an apology -- and travel documents -- to three Sikh children whose passport applications were rejected because they were wearing religious headgear.

The federal agency will also offer remedial training to passport staff to ensure a similar incident doesn't happen in the future, spokesman Fabien Lengelle said Friday.

"It is resolved," Lengelle said. "As soon as we became aware of the issue, we called the parents and offered corrective measures."

Lakhwinder Kaur Sidhu had mailed passport applications to Ottawa for herself and her husband, along with their three children, Gurleen Kaur, 9, Ravneet Kaur, 7, and Gurmant Singh, 4, on May 15.

Passport photos of all five were included in which they were wearing their religious headgear.

Although Sidhu and her husband, Hardip, got their passports last week, the children's applications were denied because their photos did not meet the specifications that wearing a "head covering is unacceptable."