Although Sikhs have gotten a religious exemption from helmet laws in many jurisdictions, they won’t be granted that in Ontario.
Last week, premier Kathleen Wynne sent a letter to the Canadian Sikh Association saying the province would not accommodate their request to ride sans skid lid. Baptized Sikhs are required to wear turbans (known as a Dastaar) as part of their religion, and obviously a helmet interferes with that.
“After careful deliberation, we have determined that we will not grant this type of exemption as it would pose a road safety risk,”Wynne’s letter said. “Ultimately, the safety of Ontarians is my utmost priority, and I cannot justify setting that concern aside on this issue.”
Four Sikh members of Wynne’s caucus had sent her an open letter indicating they were in approval of the exemption, and several other organizations had also requested it. Wynne had said she’d address the issue after the spring election this year, and she’s kept her word, although many of the affected Sikhs don’t seem very happy with her decision.