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Toronto Update: The City Apologises as Sikhs lose jobs Due to ‘No-Beard’ Mandate

Toronto Update: The City of Toronto, Canada has issued a statement, formally apologising to the World Sikh Organization of Canada for firing a Sikh security guard over the “no-beard” policy and any subsequent delay in reinstating him.

The organisation called upon Mayor John Tory and the City Council to lift the clean shave requirement, specifically for Sikh employees who have to maintain their beard as part of their faith. 

Since the onset of the pandemic, security guards at city shelters and respite sites are required to wear tight-fitting N95 masks if they are clean-shaven. As a result of the city’s inspections of work sites, contractors with employees who are not clean-shaven were deducted billable hours.

Addressing the complaint of the organization, the City of Toronto released a statement. “Effective Tuesday, the City of Toronto said that it will immediately permit “under-mask beard covers” as a reasonable accommodation option for individuals who maintain facial hair as a tenet of their faith and are required to be present at City sites with protective N95 respirator requirements.”

The statement also requested contracted security service providers to accommodate any Sikh security guard employees who have requested religious exemptions and reinstate any employee whose employment was terminated. The Mayor also said he would like the contractors involved to apologise.

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