Sikhs Struggle Against Government Anti-Turban Policies

October 21, 2005

Source: Garavi Gujarat

On October 21, 2005 Garavi Gujarat reported, "Faced with the threat of losing employment in various longshore sectors, some Canadian Sikhs are fighting the government's decision to make mandatory the wearing of hard hats while on job, which they say will go against their custom of wearing the turban.

Avtar Singh Dhillon, who earlier fought for, and won, the right to ride a motorcycle without wearing a helmet, is along with other members of the community, now up in arms against a new hard-hat policy that he says has limited the jobs available to baptised Sikh longshoremen like him.

Dhillon, Amarjit Singh Sidhu and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have filed a grievance with the BC Maritime Employers' Association over new safety regulations making hard hats mandatory in several union jobs. 'The turban is very important for the Sikhs in history,' said Dhillon. 'This is an issue all over Canada for Sikhs in the building industries, fishing industries, construction industries, lumber industries. We want to solve this problem.'"