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The Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse calls for respect of the principles enshrined in the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms

Montréal, September 16, 2013 – Within the framework of the current debate on ‟Québec values”, the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse is calling for respect of the principles enshrined in the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

The Charter is a quasi-constitutional law, adopted in 1975, which protects the right to equality for all and prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, race or gender, among other grounds.

‟In their social interaction, all individuals must respect the rights of others,” the president of the Commission, Jacques Frémont, pointed out.

Concerned about signs of tension, including the recent attack in a Québec City shopping mall of a woman wearing a hijab, Mr. Frémont issued the reminder that there are legal consequences when the right to equality of individuals is breached. ‟The courts can impose not only moral damages but punitive damages as well,” he said.

‟Beyond the legal consequences, discrimination has serious repercussions for the people subjected to it and leads to feelings of exclusion and loss of self-esteem. Given the current context, it’s even more regrettable,” Mr. Frémont added.

The Commission’s mandate is to ensure, through all appropriate means, promotion and respect of the principles contained in the Charter, which recognizes that all human beings are equal in value and dignity. The Charter sets out the fundamental values subscribed to by all of Québec society.

Section 10 of the Charter specifies that every person has a right to full and equal recognition and exercise of his or her human rights and freedoms, without distinction, exclusion or preference based on grounds that include race, colour, religion, political convictions, and ethnic or national origin. Discrimination exists where such distinction, exclusion or preference has the effect of nullifying or impairing such right. In such cases, the Commission can therefore receive complaints, investigate or petition the court.

The Commission is currently studying the Government of Québec’s policy paper on proposals in matters of the State’s religious neutrality and guidelines for religious accommodation and will comment soon.


Contact :
Patricia Poirier
514 873-5146 or 1 800 361-6477 extension 358