Refusal to Exempt Ontario Sikhs From Motorcycle Helmet Law Disappointing: WSO

courtesy thestar.cacourtesy thestar.caToronto (August 21, 2014):  The World Sikh Organization of Canada is disappointed by the recent decision of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to not provide an exemption from helmet requirements for Sikh motorcyclists in the province.  

WSO Ontario Vice President Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria said today, “Sikhs in Ontario have been calling for a helmet exemption for turbaned Sikh motorcyclists for several years now.  The wearing of the turban is an essential part of the Sikh identity and is a public demonstration of the Sikh values of equality and spirituality.  Exemptions for Sikhs who maintain unshorn hair and habitually wear the turban have been successfully implemented in other provinces in Canada and across the world including the United Kingdom, India and elsewhere.  Carving out a narrow exception for Sikh motorcyclists would not compromise the objective of ensuring the reasonable safety of motorcyclists.   We would note that exemptions for turbaned Sikh motorcyclists in British Columbia, Manitoba and elsewhere have had no actual impact on road safety or resulted in any significant additional costs.  Without any evidence to the contrary, it is difficult to justify why a similar exemption cannot be provided in Ontario.  We would encourage Premier Wynne to reconsider her decision.”

Inaugural Khalsa Cup Tournament a Success!

Maple Leafs- Winners Coed TierMaple Leafs- Winners Coed TierMississauga (August 11, 2014):  The first annual Khalsa Cup concluded on Sunday with Team Malton being crowned Competitive Tier champions and the Maple Leafs winning the Co-Ed Tier.  The tournament raised over $6,000 for the Khalra Centre for Human Rights Defenders in Delhi. 

The Khalsa Cup, organized to implement the concepts of seva and sarbat da bhalla into sports, was organized through collaborative effort between the Sikh Youth Federation (SYF), the Champions Ball Hockey League (CBHL)World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO), and Toronto Singh’s Camp.

A total of 12 teams and over 180 players registered for the three-day tournament, which included a competitive and co-ed tier.  The tournament took place at the Huron Park Arena in Mississauga.

Charges Against Brookside Gurdwara President a Call to Action: WSO

Baldev KalsiBaldev KalsiSurrey (July 16, 2014):  In the wake of the tragic assault on Narinder Kaur Kalsi, the World Sikh Organization of Canada is offering access to a network of psychologists and counselors who can assist with family dispute resolution issues. 

The WSO is shocked and saddened by the tragic assault against Narinder Kaur Kalsi.  While Ms. Kalsi remains on life support, her husband, Baldev Singh Kalsi has been charged with attempted murder.  Kalsi is the president of the Brookside Gurdwara in Surrey.

Jasbir Kaur Randhawa, WSO Vice President of British Columbia said today, “the entire community is shocked by this incident.  Violence against women is a serious problem that needs to be addressed by the South Asian community, including Sikhs.  Early intervention and role modeling are key to making a difference.  The WSO has been involved in several initiatives to put violence against women on the agenda in the community and a lot more work needs to be done.”

WSO Saddened By Violence at Darbar Sahib Complex

Ottawa (June 6, 2014):  The World Sikh Organization of Canada is saddened by the clash today at Sri Darbar Sahib (The Golden Temple) in Amritsar where several individuals were injured.

Sikhs around the world are marking the 30th anniversary of the Indian army’s brutal assault on the Sri Darbar Sahib in June 1984. According to reports, the clash occurred during a memorial service for the innocent victims of the attack and several individuals were injured by large swords used in the melee. It remains unclear what prompted the violence. 

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Upcoming WSO June Events- Remembering 1984

WSO will be holding events across Canada in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the 1984 Indian Army assault on Sri Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) in Amritsar. This year, we will be sharing video presentations on 1984 and having a photo exhibit of the tragic assault.

We will be joined by Dr. Colin Gonsalves of the Human Rights Law Network (India) who will speak about the legacy of 1984 and how it has impacted human rights across India.  Dr. Gonsalves is a senior advocate at the Supreme Court of India and has recently worked on several cased involving the Sikh community such as the cases of 1984 Sikh genocide victims, the lifiting of the ban on the film 'Sada Haq' and the death penalty of Prof. Davinderpal Singh Bhullar.

WSO Works with Multinational Company To Develop Kirpan Policy

Parminder KaurParminder KaurToronto (May 27, 2014):  The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) has worked with Kuehne & Nagel, a multinational freighting company, to develop a kirpan accommodation policy for Sikhs workers at its Canadian facilities.

In November 2013, Parminder Kaur, an amritdhari Sikh, was sent by her employment agency to the Kuehne & Nagel facility in Mississauga.  At the entrance to the facility, Ms. Kaur was told that the location was “metal free” and she would not be permitted to wear her kirpan.  Upon speaking with other workers, she learned that metal bracelets and other metal jewelry were being permitted onto the premises. 

Ms. Kaur tried to explain the significance of the kirpan but was told she would not be permitted to work without its removal.  After leaving the facility, she contacted the WSO for assistance.

WSO Offers Congratulations on Conclusion of First Sikh Heritage Month

Brampton (April 30, 2014)- The World Sikh Organization of Canada congratulates the Sikh community of Ontario upon the conclusion of the first Sikh Heritage Month in the province.  April 2014 marked the first time the month was celebrated in Ontario after the passing of Bill 52 the Sikh Heritage Month Act. 

The Sikh Heritage Month Act was proposed by NDP MPP Jagmeet Singh (Bramalea- Gore Malton) and received the support of all three parties in the Ontario Legislature. Sikh Heritage Month, which will be marked every April, recognizes the contributions of the Sikh community to Canada and specifically the growth and prosperity of Ontario.  During the month of April Sikhs celebrate Vaisakhi , the day on which the Order of the Khalsa was revealed and Sikhs were given a distinct identity with the Sikh articles of faith.  Khalsa Day Parades are held in cities across Canada to commemorate the event. 

WSO Condemns Racist Flyers Targeting Brampton Sikhs

Brampton (April 24, 2014):  The World Sikh Organization of Canada condemns racist flyers distributed by the group “Immigration Watch Canada” targeting the Sikh community in Brampton. 

The flyer titled “The Changing Face of Brampton” laments the decreasing proportion of “Mainstream Canadians” in Brampton and contrasts an older picture of a largely Caucasian group with a recent picture of a group of Sikh men and women. 

Brampton is home to a large Sikh population.  According to the 2011 Census results, approximately 19 per cent of the Brampton population reported their religion as Sikh. 

WSO Partners with KarmaGrow to Build One Acre Community Farm

Gurpreet Somal, Jaskaran Sandhu, Gursharn Gill, Kulwinder GillGurpreet Somal, Jaskaran Sandhu, Gursharn Gill, Kulwinder GillBrampton (April 22, 2014) - The World Sikh Organization of Canada is pleased to announce the launch of a fresh initiative in partnership with KarmaGrow. KarmaGrow is working to alleviate food insecurity by building and maintaining community gardens and farms in order to provide food banks with a sustainable source of fresh produce. The WSO is working alongside Sikhs Serving Canada (“SSC”), Khoobsurat Klothing, GG Fabrication, Region of Peel, Ecosource, Good Food Brampton, Knights Table and the KarmaGrow team in order to build a one acre community farm in Caledon East.

Jaskaran Singh Sandhu, KarmaGrow’s Co-Founder and a WSO Board member, started with a simple idea. “Food banks are often short of fresh vegetables, land is often underutilized, people are always looking for ways to give back – KarmaGrow is here to bring all these elements together in order to ‘Harvest Good’. At every point in the foundation and building process I have been amazed at the community’s willingness and capacity to help. All of our partners have jumped at the opportunity to assist in any way possible. A perfect example of that is the WSO. The WSO was our first partner, and helped to secure the farm land we will be using for our pilot project. We are thrilled to be building a one acre vegetable farm with 100% community driven support.”

Kirpan to be accommodated at Canadian Missions Across the World

Brampton (April 14, 2014) – The World Sikh Organization of Canada is pleased to announce the release of accommodation guidelines for the kirpan in Canadian embassies and consulates across the world.   The WSO has worked with the Government of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development to develop these guidelines.

The kirpan is an important article of faith worn by amritdhari or initiated Sikhs which represents spiritual wisdom and the duty to stand against injustice.

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