Premier Doug Ford and Prabmeet Sarkaria, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, announced today that Ontario’s Government for the People is taking steps to grant the Sikh community an exemption from the requirement to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle.
“We promised to establish a helmet exemption for Sikh motorcyclists,” said Premier Ford. “Today we are taking action to fulfill that promise. We listened to the Sikh community and we intend to exempt them from the requirement to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle.”
Last week, MPP Sarkaria tabled Bill 41, the Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Helmet Exemption for Sikh Motorcyclists), 2018 which would grant the same exemption in recognition of Sikh motorcycle riders’ civil rights and religious expression.
“I have been calling for a helmet exemption for turbaned Ontario Sikh motorcyclists for several years now,” said MPP Sarkaria. “The wearing of the turban is an essential part of the Sikh faith and identity, and exemptions for Sikhs have been successfully implemented in other provinces in Canada and across the world.”
There are other countries as well as Canadian provinces with a helmet exemption already in place including:
- British Columbia (1999), Manitoba (2000) and Alberta (2018).
- The United Kingdom, a leader in road safety, implemented the motorcycle helmet exemption for Sikhs in 1976 and continues to be at the forefront of road safety worldwide.
“The safety of our roads will always remain a priority,” concluded Premier Ford. “But our government also believes that individuals have personal accountability and responsibility with respect to their own well-being.”