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Selected Canadian Jurisprudence
Supreme Court of Canada decision allowing the wearing of kirpans in public schools by Sikh students. The decision was unanimous. The SCC held that there was no evidence that the kirpan posed a safety risk. (WSO participated as Interveners)
Case regarding a condominium restricting the building of succah huts on balconies by Jewish owners. At issue was the appropriate test to be applied when determining the “sincerity of belief”, and whether expert evidence was necessary to establish this belief. The Supreme Court of Canada held that a claimant need not show some sort of objective religious obligation, requirement or precept to invoke freedom of religion (ie. expert evidence was not required to invoke freedom of religion). (WSO participated as Intervenors)
Quebec Superior Court decision upholding an agreement allowing Gurbaj Singh Multani to wear his kirpan to school. The decision was appealed to the Quebec Court of Appeal
Tribunal decision allowing airlines to place restrictions on the kirpan onboard airplanes. The Tribunal held that a kirpan which had a “greater potential for injury than the eating utensils used on board the aircraft” could be prohibited.
On appeal from the Trial Division. The Court of Appeal found that the Trial Judge was correct in concluding that there was no infringement of the Charter in allowing the RCMP to accommodate the turban. The Court found that upholding the turban regulation was accommodating the right to freedom of religion. (WSO participated as interveners) Grant et al. v. Attorney General (Canada )  S.C.C.A. No. 394 Case not available online; please contact your local law library for a copy, or contact WSO
The Plaintiffs sought leave to appeal the Court of Appeal decision. Leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada was dismissed without reasons and with costs.
Case not available online; please contact your local law library for a copy, or contact WSO
A challenge by ex-RCMP officers to the RCMP’s accommodation of the turban in the RCMP uniform. The Trial Judge upheld the right of the RCMP to accommodate the turban. (WSO participated as Intervenors)
This case upheld the right of Sikh students and teachers to wear kirpans in public school classrooms in Ontario. Case not available online; please contact your local law library for a copy, or contact the WSO
Supreme Court of Canada Decision regarding the requirement for CN employees to wear hard hats. Mr. Bhinder refused to wear a hard hat over his turban. The Court ruled that this was a bona fide occupational requirement. There was a strong dissent by Chief Justice Dickson and the future Chief Justice Lamer.
The current approach to accommodation at the workplace was established in the Meiorin case British Columbia (Public Service Employee Relations Commission) v. British Columbia Government Service Employees' Union  3 S.C.R. 3, 1999 SCC 48 where the distinction between tests for direct and indirect discrimination was eliminated.
Dhillon v. British Columbia (Ministry of Transportation and Highways, Motor Vehicle Branch),  B.C.H.R.T.D. No. 25
A BC Human Rights Tribunal decision allowing Sikh motorcyclists to wear the turban while riding, and exempting them from helmet requirements.
Case not available online; please contact your local law library for a copy, or contact the WSO