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Ontario Enshrining the Right to Wear Poppies in the Workplace

SHANNON WHITTEKER, Office of Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism

The Ontario government is introducing legislation today; if passed, [it] would amend the Remembrance Week Act, 2016, to give Ontario workers the right to wear a poppy in the workplace during Remembrance Week. By wearing a poppy, Ontarians remember the bravery and valour of Canadian Armed Forces veterans and active members who fought to preserve peace around the world, protect Canada and defend its freedom and way of life.

“Our government is grateful to those in uniform, past and present, who have selflessly dedicated themselves to serving our country and protecting our values,” said Parm Gill, Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism. “They deserve our unwavering respect, support and gratitude. We show that by wearing poppies, helping to ensure our children and grandchildren never forget the sacrifices they have made for us.”

An exception to the proposed right to wear a poppy will apply if wearing a poppy poses a danger or hazard to any person’s health, safety, or welfare.

As part of the government’s continued efforts to honour and support veterans, the legislation, if passed, would also amend the preamble to the Remembrance Week Act, 2016, to state, poppies are worn during Remembrance Week as a symbol of remembrance and respect.

Ontarians come together to proudly wear poppies and support veterans in their community through the Royal Canadian Legion’s annual poppy campaign. Funds raised from the campaign go towards providing grants for veterans in need, by funding facilities and transition programs and providing support for veterans and their hospitalized spouses.

By enshrining in law the right to wear a poppy in the workplace and its status as a symbol of remembrance and respect, the government is reminding employers Ontario owes a debt of gratitude to the brave people who serve our country, and that should be reflected in their employment policies and practices.

The proposed amendments, which would come into effect upon Royal Assent, would align with the purpose of the Remembrance Week Act, 2016 of promoting the voluntary observance of Remembrance Day in recognizing the extraordinary courage and profound sacrifice made by the people who gave their lives for Canada in military service.

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