TORONTO (LifeSiteNews) – Following public outcry, Toronto has apologized for “any delay” in restoring Sikh security guards fired for not following the city’s no beard rule.
On July 5, the City of Toronto reinstated about 100 Sikh security guards who refused to go against their religion by shaving their beards to wear masks as reported by CBC News.
“I’m glad that the city has finally arrived with a solution that works for these Sikh security guards,” Balpreet Singh, the World Sikh Organization (WSO) legal counsel, said in an interview.
“But … I’m a little bit disappointed it took this long,” he added.
This decision comes after the city faced public condemnation for attempting to force the Sikhs to compromise their religion to wear N95 masks, which the WSO said was “discriminatory.”
Conservative Party Leader Candidate Pierre Poilievre tweeted, “This is ridiculous. Having a beard doesn’t prevent someone from safely doing a job as security guard. Anyone who lost their job (including Sikh security guards) should be reinstated & compensated for lost pay.“
“Gatekeepers who made this dumb decision should be held accountable,” he added.
This is ridiculous. Having a beard doesn’t prevent someone from safely doing a job as security guard.
Anyone who lost their job (including Sikh security guards) should be reinstated & compensated for lost pay.
Gatekeepers who made this dumb decision should be held accountable. https://t.co/TlMkpyjmst
— Pierre Poilievre (@PierrePoilievre) July 4, 2022
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“The city will not accept any contractors failing to accommodate religious freedoms,” the release said, while apologizing for “any delay” in reinstating the guards.
Effective Tuesday, the men will be permitted to wear a tight fitted covering over their beard with an N95 mask over top.
“The technique, also known as the 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,” the city said.
The city reportedly called on its contractors to “immediately” reinstate Sikh security staff, adding the guards “should be appropriately compensated for any financial impact.”
“I’ve asked city staff to work with all contractors involved to immediately resolve this issue and to be absolutely clear that we respect people’s human rights, including freedom of religion,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a written statement.
“I fully expect city staff to continue investigating this complaint and to make any changes necessary, up to and including legal action, to make sure Sikh residents and people of all religions are fully respected.”
Conservative Party Leader Candidate Roman Baber questioned whether the city plans to change its vaccine policy, as many Canadians who refused to take the shot due to religious beliefs lost their jobs.
Thankfully, John Tory flip flopped on security staff b/c of shifting public opinion. But how about sikhs, catholics & other @cityoftoronto employees who didn’t vaccinate b/c of their faith? Why doesn’t @JohnTory respect their religious rights? #topoli https://t.co/TIOVM3xI1I
— Roman Baber (@Roman_Baber) July 6, 2022
“Thankfully, John Tory flip flopped on security staff b/c of shifting public opinion,” he tweeted. “But how about sikhs, catholics & other @cityoftoronto employees who didn’t vaccinate b/c of their faith? Why doesn’t @JohnToryrespect their religious rights?“