On April 30, 2019, in recognition of the important contributions that Sikh Canadians have made to Canada’s social, economic, political and cultural fabric, Parliament proclaimed April as the Sikh Heritage Month.  April was specifically chosen given its importance for Sikhs, who celebrate Vaisakhi, also pronounced Baisakhi, on April 13 or 14, an annual spring harvest festival.

Canada is home to more than 500,000 Sikh Canadians, making it one of the largest Sikh diaspora in the world. Since the arrival of the first Sikh immigrants in the late 19 century, members of this community have contributed to Canada through their achievements in all areas of society and have helped shape the diversity found within it.

Sikhism is a young religion. Guru Nanak (1469–1539), who was born in the village of Rāi Bhōi dī Talwandī, (now called Nankana Sahib, located in present-day Pakistan) founded Sikhism in 1526. Sikhism developed from the spiritual teachings of Guru Nanak, and nine gurus who succeeded him. The title “Guru” is a term used for a reverential teacher, mentor or spiritual guide.

The tenth guru, Gobind Singh (1666–1708), named the Sikh scripture Guru Granth Sahib as his successor, bringing to a close the line of human gurus and establishing the scripture as the 11th and last eternally living guru, a religious spiritual/life guide for Sikhs.

Sikhs speak Punjabi language and maintain a strong bond with Punjabi culture. Sikhism’s core principles include equality, generosity, openness, and compassion. Sikh Heritage Month is an opportunity to reflect on the pivotal role that Sikh communities have played, and continue to play, in building a stronger and consciously more inclusive Canada.

Stay safe, stay well!


Waheed Khan

President, National Consultation Team