Skip to main content

An Act In Violation of Freedom of Religion

This document is an Application for Judicial Review (Declaration of Invalidity) and Application for an Interim Stay. On June 16, 2019, the National Assembly adopted An Act respecting the laicity of the State, SQ 2019, c. 13 (the “Act”).The Act explicitly sets out to regulate the relationship between the state and religions in Québec. In particular, the goal of the Act is to prohibit individuals who work for a wide variety of positions in the public sector from wearing “religious symbols” while at work. The effect of the Act is to prohibit those individuals from working for public institutions. Without question, the Act violates freedom of religion and discriminates against religious minorities by asking potentially thousands of people to choose between their faith, identity, and self-expression, and their right to participate in provincial public institutions.

The Plaintiffs

The plaintiffs included in this litigation are:

  • Ichrak Nourel Hak, a teacher who wears a hijab as an expression of her Muslim faith, and is seeking employment as a French teacher.
  • The National Council of Canadian Muslims (“NCCM”)
  • Canadian Civil Liberties Association (“CCLA”)
Application for Suspension of Law
The Facts of the Case

On March 28, 2019, the Québec Government introduced Bill 21, An Act respecting the laicity of the State (“Bill 21” or the “Bill”), Exhibit P-7. Bill 21 proposed the requirement that people who work for provincial public bodies, including schools, exercise their functions with their faces uncovered and prohibited persons holding certain positions in public institutions from wearing “religious symbols” while on the job. The Bill was adopted on June 4, 2019. It is obvious that the Act violates the Constitution of Canada, and will have a serious and immediate negative impact on thousands of individuals working or hoping to work in various areas in the public sector, as well as on religious individuals and those who are perceived to be religious in Québec more generally. Read the Application for Suspension of Law for more details on how the CCLA is fighting for religious freedom.

en_CAEnglish (Canada)