CCLA firmly opposes Bill 62 – which bans any person receiving government services (including schooling, daycare, or bus rides) from wearing face coverings. The Bill will have an adverse impact on particular Muslim women and others who maintain certain religious or ethnic practices.
Many of its provisions clearly violate guarantees set out in both the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. CCLA agrees with the principle underlying the bill – namely that the state should be religiously neutral – in our view, this principle is already entrenched in the laws of Québec and Canada. Unfortunately, rather than helping to achieve neutrality, Bill 62 undermines it. While it purports to uphold equality rights, in practice the measures that the Bill would put in place would significantly weaken equality rights, and create significant difficulties for particular Muslim women and potentially other religious, ethnic, and racialized minorities.
In 2016, CCLA submitted a brief to the Quebec National Assembly’s Committee on Institutions as part of its special consultation and public hearings on Bill 62. Bill 62 — An Act to foster adherence to State religious neutrality and, in particular, to provide a framework for religious accommodation requests in certain bodies — is a deeply troubling law that would infringe basic rights and cannot be justified in a free and democratic society.