Proposed police uniform changes set off alarm bells in Quebec

Montreal politician’s call to adapt city’s police uniform for Sikh and Muslim officers is reviving a long-running debate in Quebec over the reasonable accommodation of religious minorities

By Allan Woods
Toronto Star | April 4, 2018

MONTREAL — Suggestions the Montreal Police should change its uniform to accommodate Sikh and Muslim officers have stoked the embers of a fiery debate in Quebec.

Montreal politician Marvin Rotrand is urging the city to allow Sikh cops to wear turbans and Muslim officers to wear hijabs while on duty in order to attract more diverse recruits and build a force that better reflects the population it serves. He received an unexpected boost this week.

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“While to some this may seem like a symbolic gesture it is in fact an obligation upon employers under Canada’s human rights codes to consider requests by employees for reasonable accommodation of their religious practice,” said Leila Nasr, a spokesperson with the National Council of Canadian Muslims. “It is also important for our law-enforcement agencies to reflect the populations they serve.”

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