August 31, 2018 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Ontario, Canada: Ontario is expected to become fourth province of Canada to exempt turban wearing Sikhs from helmet laws.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s office has reportedly confirmed the government is planning on introducing legislation in the winter that would exempt turban-wearing Sikhs from wearing helmets while riding a motorcycle.
“The Ministry of Transportation is currently reviewing Ontario’s mandatory helmet law,” said Laryssa Waler, a spokesperson for Premier Doug Ford, adding the promise was made at a roundtable.
“Premier Doug Ford committed to the Sikh community that the Ontario government would grant an exemption in recognition of Sikh motorcycle riders’ civil rights and religious expression”, Laryssa Waler reportedly added.
The other three provinces which already have similar laws are Manitoba, British Columbia and Alberta.
According to Manitoba’s rule, “any bona fide members of the Sikh religion are exempt from helmet-wearing laws.”
British Columbia’s wording is a bit more specific, which states the motorcycle helmet exemption applies to “any Sikh who has unshorn hair and habitually wears a turban composed of five or more square meters of cloth.”
The third province is Alberta, welcoming the new rule in April of this year. According to a spokesperson for the Government of Alberta, a rider wearing a turban, but not wearing a helmet, would have to self-identify to be considered a Sikh. At that point, it would be up to the discretion of the officer. If the officer doesn’t believe the rider, a ticket may still be issued in Alberta.