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Commentary on the government policy paper regarding secularism and reasonable accommodations

Commentary on the government policy paper regarding secularism and reasonable accommodations

Commentary on the government policy paper regarding secularism and reasonable accommodations

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On September 10, 2013, the Minister responsible for Democratic Institutions and Active Citizenship released the government policy paper regarding secularism and guidelines for requests for religious accommodation, entitled Parce que nos valeurs, on y croit.

The Commission analysed the policy paper as part of its mandate to promote and uphold the principles stated in the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

The Commission believes that several proposals contravene the Québec Charter and infringe fundamental rights and freedoms.

The comments are based on the expertise the Commission developed for a number of years in the fields of the right to equality, processing of complaints related to discrimination and reasonable accommodation.

In this section, you will find further information on issues related to the comments published by the Commission on October 17, 2013.

 

 

What we are hearing...

Québec needs clearer rules so that everyone is treated equally.

 
 

Québec already has a fundamental law, the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, that guarantees and protects the fundamental rights and freedoms of all. To learn more... on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms

 
 

What we are hearing...

Equality of women and men is threatened by reasonable accommodation requests based on religion

 
 

The Charter protects the right to equality of women and men. This right to equality may involve differential treatment in certain cases and, in these situations, reasonable accommodation may be a means of ensuring equality. To learn more... on the equality of women and men

 
 

What we are hearing...

Employers and institutions should not grant accommodation on religious grounds

 
 

The duty to accommodate is a legal obligation stemming from the right to equality guaranteed under the Charter. An accommodation that compromises the right to equality is considered unreasonable. To learn more... on the duty to accommodate

 
 

What we are hearing...

Québec is experiencing a crisis in reasonable accommodation on religious grounds and the government must act to settle this crisis

 
 

In the past four years, only 3% of all discrimination complaints processed by the Commission have been based on religious grounds, and complaints related to accommodation have accounted for only 0.7% of all files. To learn more... on reasonable accommodation requests

 
 

What we are hearing...

Reasonable accommodation prevents newcomers from integrating into Québec society

 
 

Discrimination hinders integration, not the duty to accommodate. The government should put in place concrete measure to fight racism and discrimination. To learn more... on integration and discrimination

 
 

What we are hearing...

The Québec government should make it clear that the state is neutral

 
 

In Québec law, the principle of the state’s neutrality already exists as corollary of the principle of freedom of religion guaranteed by the Charter. To learn more... on State neutrality and freedom of religion

 
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