Alberta drops requirement for correctional peace officers to be clean-shaven
Effective immediately, job postings will no longer require job applicants seeking to become correctional peace officers (CPO) to be clean-shaven in Alberta, the province said.
The revised policy means applicants with facial hair and medical or religious exemptions can now apply to be a correctional peace officer. Officers without a medical or religious exemption will still be required to be clean-shaven.
While officers are typically required to be clean-shaven so that respiratory masks fit as tightly as possible around their face, newly purchased personal protective equipment (PPE) will help accommodate facial hair. The new equipment will allow officers, regardless of religion or medical requirements, to complete their duties in a safe manner.
Observant Sikhs maintain uncut hair (kesh) as an article of faith, Alberta said. For many Sikh men, the requirement to be clean-shaven is incompatible with their faith. Abolishing this job requirement recognizes an individual’s right to practise their faith when applying for a job and doing their duties, the government said.
“The former government’s 2016 policy requiring job applicants to be clean-shaven prevented observant Sikh men from applying to be correctional peace officers,” said Tyler Shandro, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General. “I commend the Correctional Services division for rectifying this situation and for sourcing new personal protective equipment that will allow front-line correctional peace officers who are observant Sikhs to stay true to their faith and fulfil their duties in a safe manner.”
Correctional peace officers use respiratory protective equipment to prevent or mitigate the risk of exposure to highly toxic substances.
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