Via Rail allows kirpans in human rights settlement

Martha Peden
April 2, 2007

After a Sikh passenger was forced to disembark the train because of complaints he was wearing a weapon, Via Rail changed its policy. Via Rail now allows Sikhs passengers to wear kirpans on trains. The previous policy prohibited all weapons from the trains and made no religious exceptions.

This policy change is consistent with the attitude of the Supreme Court of Canada which has “repeatedly ruled against policies denying Sikhs the right to wear a kirpan” since the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into force in 1982. In 2006, the Supreme Court held in Multani v. Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys that a Sikh student could wear his kirpan to school based on his section 2(a) Charter right of freedom of religion.

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Centre for Constitutional Studies
448D Law Centre
University of Alberta
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