Having lost his father at a very young age, Baltej Singh Dhillon had to shoulder responsibility along with his older brother for his entire family. He thus made a decision to immigrate to Canada and arrived in this country in October 1983 to begin a better life for his family.
He helped his 3 siblings settle in Canada and supported them through every means possible. Baltej’s first job was picking berries in the farms as a laborer for four years to support the family and pay for school. He then began his journey in fulfilling his career goal – becoming a police officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In 1988 he applied to the RCMP, this stirred the nation into an unprecedented controversy regarding the allowance of a turban and Insp. Dhillon ’s right to practice his faith against what was perceived by many the symbol of Canada the Stetson worn by the Mountie. He found himself fighting for his religious right to wear his turban and the opportunity to serve his country.
Over 275,000 people signed a petition against the allowance of a turban to preserve the tradition of the Stetson hat-wearing RCMP officer. The opponents went as far as filing a petition defending their case in the Supreme Court of Canada. Although he received much support and encouragement, he was also the subject of death threats – threats to take his life if he continued with the process. Indeed, this became a national issue, drawing in commentary from politicians of all political stripes and debates in schools and coffee shops and heated commentary from the RCMP senior brass and rank and file.
Two years later, on May 11th 1991 Insp. Dhillon came out victorious in his struggle and today proudly wears his turban while working in the RCMP and serving and protecting Canadians. This was a proud achievement for not only his family but the entire community across the country.
He has served on high Profile cases like the Air India Investigation, The Pig Farm Serial killer investigation and a number of other murder investigations, and has received various honors and commendations for his contributions. Insp. DHILLON is an accomplished Major Crime Investigator, Police Interrogator, Polygraph Examiner, Intelligence Office and Emergency Planner. He was also given the responsibility of developing the Provincial Intelligence Centre of British Columbia the first of its kind in Canada.
Due to his experience, work ethic and strong leadership skills he was also selected to head BC’s Federal Serious and Organized Crime Intelligence Group. At present he is the Officer In Charge of Emergency Preparedness for the RCMP in BC.
Over the years Insp. Dhillon has constantly worked to give back to his community. His volunteer efforts include volunteering at youth camps and the community at large as a counsellor, mentor motivational speaker and lecturer for over 20 years. He has also served as committee member and then Co–chair on the South Asian Advisory Committee and Consortiums in the Lower Mainland for United Way and was also the past Chair of the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Alumni Association. As an accredited Yoga teacher he has volunteered his time inspiring and teaching yoga to participants at Welcome Home Society who struggle with drug addiction and now volunteers his time leading Yoga classes, attended by his colleagues, at the RCMP Headquarters in Surrey.
He has been and remains a Motivational Speaker at various youth camps, universities and schools and various community events. He is called on often to deliver key note speeches across Canada and internationally.
He is currently a Director with the WorkSafe BC Board, member of guild of speakers with Passages Canada, Director of 3HO Organization in Vancouver and a Director with the Canada India Education Society.
Insp. Dhillon is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Kwantlen Polytechnic University for his contributions in the community. He also received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003 and then the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 for Community service and service to the youth along with numerous other Community awards for his volunteer service and work in the community.