OHS Canada Magazine

Appeal Court rules against suspending Quebec’s religious symbols ban

All judges acknowledged harm may be serious for teachers wearing hijab


December 12, 2019
By the Canadian Press
Categories
Health & Safety
Human Resources
Legislation

Adopted in June, Quebec’s Bill 21 prevents some public sector workers from wearing religious symbols. (Marcel Vander Wier/OHS Canada)

MONTREAL (CP) — The Quebec Court of Appeal has rejected a request to suspend the central elements of the province’s secularism law.

In a 2-1 ruling, all three judges acknowledge the law, known as Bill 21, is causing harm that may be serious and irreparable to teachers who wear the hijab.

But the majority concludes Quebec’s use of the notwithstanding clause means the law should not be suspended.

Bill 21, adopted last June, prohibits some public sector workers, including teachers, police officers and prison guards, from wearing religious symbols.

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A national Muslim organization, a civil liberties group and a university student who wears the hijab were seeking to have the law suspended while their full legal challenge is heard.

They presented evidence that people are already being denied employment because they wear religious symbols.

Copyright (c) 2019 The Canadian Press