Sikh truckers’ bid for helmet exemption fails   

by Today's Trucking

Port of MontrealOTTAWA, Ont. — Three Sikh truck drivers working at the Port of Montreal have effectively lost their bid for exemption from wearing hard hats after the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear their case.

In a decision issued Thursday and posted on its website, the court said it will not hear the case. As is customary, the court gave no reasons for its decision.

The drivers were appealing a 2016 ruling by a Quebec judge that they must wear hats when safety standards require them.

The port had adopted a policy requiring anyone walking on the grounds to wear a protective helmet.

The drivers had argued that they had a right to wear a turban instead of a helmet based on Charter rights protecting freedom of religion.

The Quebec Court of Appeal rejected that argument saying workplace safety must take precedence. Thursday’s decision by the Supreme Court maintains the Quebec judgement.

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    • They should make the same ruling for the motorcycle helmet law.
      If your religion states that you can’t take your turbin off to put a helmet on, then don’t buy a motorcycle.
      Follow the same laws as everyone else in this country.

    • Court is absolutely giving correct decision.
      Be grateful that Canada is being generous and allowing people to migrate to Canada.
      We should accept and respect Canadian rules and regulations and abide by the law.

      People are trying to bring their own reason to not to follow the guidelines and this should not be supported and reject it and also should not be accepted for hearing too.

  • I agree with the court if claim a seatbelt is against my religion I still have to wear it. If any new group comes to Canada and does not want to follow our safety rules and normal practices provided they not endanger your health. You should have to follow them. I have no problem with truck drivers and other people from overseas you meet our standards of safety and courtesy. I see too many people not being treated with respect.

  • I agree 100 percent. Don’t matter who are you race releligius. You re here in Canada. Law it’s law. And safety is safety for all of us. None of us different. Canada is Canada. Period!!!

  • When there are mandatory safety rules they should be followed and enforced. Here in Alberta they are allowed to wear turbans when when they ride motorcycles . This is Canada rules and regulations should be followed!

    • I am considering making PPE that complies with religious guidelines for Sikhs, Muslims and anyone else that may be affected.

      It makes no sense to expose oneself to harm because of religiously mandated dress. It also makes no sense that people of faith are excluded or discriminated against, especially in the workplace.

      The fact that no one has solved this problem yet is indicative of deep seated, institutional racism, prejudice and bigotry in our society and it is absolutely disgusting!

      I have experience making Automotive parts out of carbon fiber. Tooling and mold making process is similar, but if anyone has any insights into resins or specific polymers, I’m all ears.

      Hope all you people dismissing the Sikh community and their right to their livelihoods can see your bigotry for what it is and just shut up.

      Check your white privilege and sit down!

  • I understand the ruling. It’s about safety! Period! Full stop! I don’t get the idea when people say religion. Work place has rules and regulations that governs workplace safety. Not religious safety. We respect your religion. What I don’t understand is why turban can be work in Ontario while riding a motorcycle? Safety for all no special interest group since it might provoke a behavior of us versus them mentality. Which we don’t need since we supposed to be an inclusive society.

  • The courts got it RIGHT it is all about safety & This why Ontario & other provinces got it wrong ALLOWING Sikhs to ride Motorcycles wearing a turbans & others must wear helmets or face tickets this a discriminatory law in a country where everyone are equals

  • Work place safety laws are in place to protect people from accidents they have been delovoped over the years a one time there were very few safety orientated Les.The result was people dimembered killed or hurt to the point they could no longer work.Religion has no place in this argument if they were allowed not wear hard hats and an accident did take place
    I m sure lawsuits would began.

  • Why did group not sign waiver, if injured while not wearing required protective gear no compensation. No medical treatment, no lost wages, no payments of any kind to anyone including family.
    If injuried their religion comes to injury site, picks them up, cares for them and family they support.
    Otherwise wear the required equipment, if injured let system help you.

    • Well, if you can’t follow the rules, safety rules, just remember that nobody pushes you to work on the place, occupation if some safety rules are not comply with your religion, for example?!?
      Just, try to get some other job, where you don’t need to wear a helmet?!
      Your choice…

  • This particular group (Sikhs) have won safety exemptions such as not having to wear an approved motorcycle helmet. They
    requested this exemption based on their religion.

    It was a stupid ruling my the lawmakers to allow this based on religion.

    Finally, the courts have made a sound decision based on common sense and sound reasoning.

    • I agre with your guys Paul . and. Allen. Law is law do you have better live in Canada follow canadian laws and be happy…

  • I imagine whomever didn’t have the option to sign a waiver nor should they. The safety rules are in place for all Canadians.

  • I agree with the court’s decision. We must all abide by the laws of this country especially when dealing with safety and national security. Religion should never be allowed to take president over existing policies and cokon sense should prevail.

  • If a Sikh with turban can drive a tank or fight overseas without helmet for Canada, then why OH&S stops them. If we talk about tax payers money as WCB, well that is in correct as we all put money in that pool whether we like it or not. Stop crying and go with the fact.We all know and experience court procedures, you can get an EPO without any reason with no explanation

  • Kids know enough to protect your brain.Excellent good job reporting on something that matters.Thanks for the court system not bending or accommodating groups that want to make up their own rules to suit them and their beliefs and customs.

  • Religion should not trump safety,no helmets or hard hats ,then no right to health care when something happens

  • Safety should always Prevail over anyone’s religion.
    Common Sense should always Prevail over anyone’s religion.
    Religion has its place.
    Work is work religion is religion
    People need to learn how to separate him and that’s the way it’s got to be I will never put someone at risk no matter what their religion is I will always try to keep the person safe.
    All religion should be based on keeping people safe.

  • Absolutely right decision by court..work safety is work safety…influence and importance of turban should be maintained according to occasions and country.

  • THIS TAKES OBJECTIONS TO ANOTHER LEVEL. SAFETY SHOULD BE PARAMOUNT TO RELIGIOUS FREEDOM.
    If this is an issue, get into another work force.
    It is good to hear that the port is enforcing safety regulations. there are a lot of construction sites that do not enforce the safety issues. Hopefully, no-one gets injured. Otherwise, WSIB should come down hard on both the driver, as well as the contractors.
    As mentioned by another submission, this is not a racial issue. This is an issue of common sense and safety. One false move could affect an individual worker, maybe a family and the their children.