B.C.: Kirpans Allowed in Courthouses If Sheriff Agrees and Kirpan Size Complies With Restrictions

Update: see previous posts – April 2, 2013 Australia: Sikh Cyclist Wins Right Not to Have to Wear a Helmet, May 16, 2012 Kirpan, Sikh Ceremonial Dagger, Now Allowed in Toronto Courthouses, August 14, 2011 Will Ontario Amend Section 104 of the Highway Traffic Act to Accommodate Sikhs?

Following the lead of Parliment in Ottawa, court houses in Alberta and Ontario, the kirpan will now allowed to be worn, if it meets the measurement requirements and is authorized by the sheriff at he courthouse
Following the lead of Parliment in Ottawa, courthouses in Alberta and Ontario, the kirpan will now allowed to be worn in B.C. courthouses, beginning on April 12, 2013 if it meets the measurement requirements and is authorized by the sheriff at the courthouse. (CP/Fred Chartrand)

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Sikhs who wish to carry a small ceremonial sword or dagger while visiting courthouses in B.C. will soon be able to do so, the provincial government has announced.

The policy will take effect in B.C. on April 12, according to a statement from the Ministry of Justice.

Sikhs wishing to carry kirpans will be required to identify themselves to court sheriffs and comply with size restrictions.

The length of the kirpan, including the sheath, may not exceed 19 centimetres while the blade must not be more than 10 centimetres. It must be worn under clothing and not be easily accessible.

The kirpan is considered a required religious symbol by many Sikhs.

The policy change is in response to a decision by the Supreme Court of Canada and other human rights decisions.

Kirpans are already allowed in provincial courtrooms in Alberta and Toronto, and in all Parliament of Canada buildings.

According to the Sikh religion, the kirpan symbolizes spiritual wisdom and the duty to stand against injustice

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One thoughtful comment

  1. They are beautiful, and wearing one is the fifth required kakaar of Sikhism.

    Pragmatically, it is a weapon. Instead of fitting the rule exactly (10cm) to tradition, find a size of blade with an acceptable danger risk, and allow that. Discriminating between religions by having special rules for some violates charter equality rights. I’m not saying I want to carry a short-blade to court, but pluralism requires shared values and equality, while our governance is ideally based on reason not religion.

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