Small kirpans permitted on flights under new Transport Canada rules

THE World Sikh Organization of Canada on Monday welcomed the decision by Transport Canada to allow blades of up to 6 cm in length on domestic and international flights in Canada. As of November 27, kirpans with blades of up to 6 cm will be permitted on Canadian flights.

Earlier this year, the WSO had reached out to Transport Canada encouraging the adoption of the international standard so that Sikhs wearing the kirpan could be accommodated.

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.”

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 6 cm 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 travelers in Canada will be able to wear kirpans with blades of up to 6 cm in length. It is important to understand, however, that the size requirements will be enforced strictly and Sikh travelers wishing to travel with their kirpan meet the size requirements.”