Preserving Sikh Canadian heritage and culture

TORONTO, May 4, 2024 /CNW/ – Canada is stronger not in spite of our diversity, but because of it. Our rich cultural fabric is full of long and celebrated histories and telling these stories both informs and builds our communities. With Budget 2024, we’re preserving the past and telling the remarkable stories behind Canada’s diversity.

One of Canada’s most vibrant communities is the Sikh Canadian community. Sikh Canadians have been an important part of our history for generations. In the early twentieth century, the first Sikhs arrived in British Columbia from Punjab. From the rail roads to defence, science, art, business, and politics – Sikh Canadians have made remarkable contributions to Canada and Canada’s prosperity ever since. We must preserve this heritage so that future generations of Sikh Canadians – and all Canadians – know the contributions of the community throughout our history.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today highlighted investments included in Budget 2024 to preserve Sikh Canadian heritage. We are:

  • Helping create the Gallery of Global Sikh Art and Culture in the Royal Ontario Museum. With a $6 million investment, we’ll be working closely with the Sikh Arts and Culture Foundation and the Royal Ontario Museum to build a space dedicated to Sikh arts, culture, and heritage.
  • Supporting the completion of a short film on Canadian and Indian soldiers in the First and Second World Wars. With a $1.8 million investment, we’ll be supporting the Indus Media Foundation in Surrey, British Columbia, to complete this short film. By preserving this heritage and encouraging others to learn more, we’re keeping Sikh Canadian stories alive for the next generation.

Sikh Canadians have helped make Canada the country we know and love. Like so many diverse communities across the country, they work every day to make Canada even better. Alongside these investments, Budget 2024 is also about building more homes, improving health care, cracking down on auto theft, and investing in our economy – to make sure every Canadian has a fair chance to succeed.


“The story of the Sikh community in Canada is, in fact, the story of Canada. The investments in Budget 2024 will help Sikh Canadians share their own stories, create their own spaces, and preserve their own heritage – because diversity is our greatest strength. Let’s keep working together to make Canada more inclusive, more vibrant, and more welcoming for everyone.”
— The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Canada is proud to be home to one of the largest Sikh diasporas in the world. The investments we are making are a recognition that Sikh Canadians have significantly contributed to making our country stronger, more prosperous, and more diverse. The new Gallery of Global Sikh Art and Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum will be a welcome addition to the community.”
— The Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

“Sikh history is Canadian history. It is a history filled with immense resilience, compassion, determination, and strength. The investments in Budget 2024 will ensure that the story of Sikhs in Canada, and the many incredible contributions that Sikhs have made to our country, are known now and for generations to come.”
— The Hon. Kamal Khera, Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities

“Through museums, we reflect collectively on Canadian, Indigenous, and diverse stories. Our government’s support of the Sikh Arts and Culture Foundation and the Royal Ontario Museum in creating a gallery dedicated to Sikh arts, culture, and heritage is an important step forward. We know our country’s rich cultural fabric is stronger when we support authentic art, storytelling, and lived experiences. This space will celebrate Canada’s Sikh community, their history, and their contributions to our society – building bridges across communities.”
— The Hon. Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Canadian Heritage

“The Royal Ontario Museum is tremendously grateful for the $6 million commitment to the Gallery of Global Sikh Art and Culture in the 2024 federal budget. Developed with the support of the Sikh Arts and Culture Foundation of Canada, and the broader Sikh community, this future gallery will be an important expansion of the Museum’s suite of galleries devoted to South Asia, which was the first of its kind in Canada.”
— Josh Basseches, Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Ontario Museum

Quick Facts
  • The Government of Canada’s investment in the Royal Ontario Museum is part of a $11 million package proposed in Budget 2024, which will also support the operations of the Hellenic Community of Vancouver.
  • The Indus Media Foundation is a registered non-profit society based in lower mainland British Columbia. The Foundation seeks to foster appreciation for Punjabi culture.
  • The Government of Canada is making generational investments to make life more affordable, build more homes, improve health care, protect Canadians, and grow our economy. Budget 2024 proposes to:
    • Restore generational fairness for renters, particularly Millennials and Gen Z, by taking new action to protect renters’ rights and unlock pathways for them to become homeowners. Learn more.
    • Save more young families money and help more moms return to their careers by building more affordable child care spaces and training more early childhood educators across Canada. Learn more.
    • Create a National School Food Program to provide meals to about 400,000 kids every year and help ensure every child has the best start in life, no matter their circumstances. Learn more.
    • Launch a new $6 billion Canada Housing Infrastructure Fund to accelerate the construction or upgrade of essential infrastructure across the country and get more homes built for Canadians. Learn more.
    • Top-up the Apartment Construction Loan Program with $15 billion, make new reforms so it is easier to access, and launch Canada Builds to call on all provinces and territories to join a Team Canada effort to build more homes, faster. Learn more.
    • Support renters by launching a new $1.5 billion Canada Rental Protection Fund to preserve more rental homes and make sure they stay affordable. Learn more.
    • Change the way we build homes through a $600 million package of measures to make it easier and cheaper to build more homes, faster, including through a new Homebuilding Technology and Innovation Fund and a new Housing Design Catalogue. Learn more.
    • Support Canada’s renewed defence policy, Our North, Strong and Free: A Renewed Vision for Canada’s Defence, through a new overall investment of $8.1 billion over five years and $73 billion over 20 years. Learn more.
    • Make housing more affordable through Solving the housing crisis: Canada’s Housing Plan. Learn more
    • Strengthen Canadian research and innovation through an over $4.6 billion package of measures. Learn more.
    • Support First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities through an investment of $9.4 billion so they can grow and thrive. Learn more.
    • Build more affordable homes on public lands – and make housing fairer for every generation. Learn more.
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SOURCE Prime Minister’s Office

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