This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
Nearly eight years after the Supreme Court of Canada allowed Sikhs to wear kirpan, a ceremonial dagger worn by those believing in the Sikh faith, safely bring them into schools under certain conditions, it has finally been done so in all Canadian embassies and missions abroad. However, internal report shows that the leniency is made with some restrictions to address potential security concerns.
According to an announcement made by the department of foreign affairs and international trade, the kirpan can now be worn in Canada’s diplomatic missions as the new policy “allows Canada to demonstrate its commitment to religious freedom without unduly increasing security risks to mission staff and visitors.” During a TV interview, the Minister of State, Tim Uppal, stated that “Canada’s diversity is one of our greatest strengths, and freedom of religion is a fundamental Canadian value.” It was added that “our government’s new kirpan policy will serve as an example and promote Canadian values around the world.”
Currently, the Sikh dagger is only allowed into Canadian missions in Delhi and Chandigarh, India, but that also when the kirpan has dull edges and the blade is less than three inches in length. According to internal documents, the department believes that “to date no visitors have complained about this practice.” Furthermore, the documents noted that Kirpans are also being allowed in the Indian parliament, but with a limit to be of a maximum length of 9 cm “inclusive of 6 cm of blade.”