A shock has been grabbing the limelight today. It says that security guards who lost their jobs because they had to cut their beards in order to wear N95 masks at work have been ordered by the City of Toronto to be hired back by any of its contractors. Following a complaint from the World Sikh Organization (WSO), the city's security guard contractors were ordered to accommodate workers who have facial hair for religious reasons and are unable to use N95 masks. The WSO has urged the city administration to change its rules.
Meanwhile, Punjab minister Harjot Singh Bains tweeted, "Beard and Moustaches are identity of a Sikh and of upmost value to his faith. Urge @cityoftoronto to rollback the decision which is against the faith of Sikhs, as it has hurt sentiments of Sikhs worldwide."
Since April, more than 100 Sikh security officers have lost their jobs as a result of failing to trim their beards, according to the World Sikh Organization (WSO). City employees have visited a number of job sites, and contract security firms' billable hours have been cut since some of their employees don't have clean shaved faces.
There’s one incident that came to light, when asked by the security guard, Birkawal Singh Anand, to shave his beard is akin to asking a non-Sikh to "peel off their skin." So, when forced to choose last month between keeping his beard or keeping his job working at a City of Toronto respite site, there was no need to deliberate. "I told them I belong to the Sikh community; shaving is not an option for me," Anand said.
Anand said he offered to wear a mask covering his whole beard but was told that wasn't an option. "They said, 'If you want to work here, you have to be shaved,'" he said. As a result, Anand was removed from his schedule at the leisure site and placed on a "formal lay off."
Moreover, Toronto Mayor John Tory, in a tweet, quoted, “The City of Toronto and all of its contractors must uphold human rights and fully comply with all relevant legislation and City policy.
I firmly believe that no person should be discriminated against for their religious beliefs.”
The purpose of the rule
"The new City of Toronto mandate requires all security guards to be fitted for N95 respirators that seal directly on the face. Facial hair is not permitted when performing fit tests," per the statement.