Sikhs permitted to wear small kirpans on flights in Canada

Transport Canada amended the list of prohibited items to allow blades of up to 6 cms in length on domestic and international flights.

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Sikh kirpan

Under new Transport Canada Rules, Sikhs have now been permitted to wear small kirpans during their air travel. The World Sikh Organization (WSO) of Canada on Monday welcomed the decision by Transport Canada to allow small kirpans of up to 6 cm in length on domestic and international flights in Canada

According to Monday’s announcement, Transport Canada has amended the prohibited items list so that “very small knife blades (6 cm or less—about the size of a large paper clip) will not be prohibited on domestic or international flights.”

Earlier this year, WSO had reached out to Transport Canada encouraging the adoption of the international standard so that Sikhs wearing kirpans can be accommodated. The exemption does not, however, apply to any flights to the United States. Sikhs in the UK have already been permitted to fly with kirpans with blades of up to 6cm for some time, in accordance with European Union standards.

Mukhbir Singh

WSO President Mukhbir Singh said, “We welcome today’s announcement. We had shared our concerns with Transport Canada last spring with respect to the accommodation of small kirpans and remained in communication with them over this matter. By adopting the European Union standard on blade length, Sikh travellers in Canada will be able to wear kirpans with blades of up to 6cm in length. It is important to understand however, that the size requirements will be enforced strictly and Sikh travellers wishing to travel with their kirpan meets the size requirements.”