The city of Toronto has instituted a rule that security guards must have a “clean-shaven face.” Following this rule, hundreds of Sikh security guards have been forced out of their current jobs, laid off, or even demoted to lower pay or rank within their field because of the new City of Toronto’s mask N95 mandate.
The rule was originally set because the N95 masks are required in shelters where a COVID-19 outbreak is occurring. This is proven to be a safety hazard with these masks, which is why the rule was set into place. An Instagram statement released by Naujawan Support Network states: “Workers should not have to choose between their faith and their livelihood.” The World Sikh Organization had complained to the city of Toronto on behalf of more than 100 Sikh security guards. After the organization talked to the city of Toronto, the decision was granted to those who needed a religious exemption.
The city said in a written statement issued Monday night that “the city has directed these contractors to accommodate their employees who have requested religious exemptions and to reinstate any employee whose employment was terminated immediately.”
The city said that it is now coordinating closely with security guard firms hired by its shelter system to guarantee that the lodgings are offered. The World Sikh Organization claimed that security companies fired some of its Sikh employees and transferred others to different locations, albeit it added that these transfers frequently involved pay and rank reductions. It demanded that the city put all guards back in their previous places and pay them for any time they had to miss or be degraded. The World Sikh Organization is still awaiting a response to this demand.