04/10/2013 03:29 EDT | Updated 06/10/2013 05:12 EDT

Ceremonial Sikh daggers to be allowed in B.C. courts, with sheriff approval

VANCOUVER - Sikhs will soon be able to wear their ceremonial daggers in B.C. courthouses as long as a sheriff agrees they observe the religion's other tenets.

The B.C. government says the change will be effective Friday and is in keeping with policies introduced in Alberta and Toronto courthouses over the past year.

Anyone wanting to wear the Kirpan must inform the sheriff they are wearing one that meets the 19-centimetre size requirement and must also be wearing a turban and the ceremonial iron bracelet.

The sheriff will be able to ask the person why they are in court and what their relationship is to the case.

The sheriffs will be able to maintain the discretion to refuse a kirpan into the courthouse on a case-by-case basis.

The government says it is making the change due to a 2006 Supreme Court of Canada decision and also noted policies accommodating kirpans are already in place in Parliament.