RCMP seeking solution for bearded members’ mask options amid coronavirus

OTTAWA – The RCMP says there is no safe and proven face covering for officers with beards, but it is working to find one for Sikh members temporarily sidelined from front-line policing.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has publicly expressed disappointment that Sikh RCMP officers find themselves on desk duty during the COVID-19 pandemic because their religiously mandated facial hair makes it difficult to properly wear a mask.

In a statement today, the RCMP says while a respirator, such as an N95 mask, is not mandatory in all front-line situations, it is sometimes required to reduce risk.

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The national police force says it is in a unique position compared to other police services because it is subject to the Canada Labour Code and Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations.

The RCMP says it continues to explore ways to address the mask issue.

The World Sikh Organization of Canada says today that if the problem is indeed regulatory, it would expect the government to correct things, particularly given the organization raised the issue in early June.

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