Friday, October 20, 2017

Quebec Enacts New Religious Neutrality Law

In Canada in Wednesday, Quebec's National Assembly passed Bill 62 (full text) which is designed to assure that those providing government services, including subsidized educational institutions, adhere to principles of religious neutrality.  Exceptions in the Act include those engaged in religious instruction in universities, or to prison or university chaplains.  In a section aimed at burqas, the Act bans both those furnishing government services, and those receiving them, from doing so with their face covered, though accommodations are possible. A UPI report on the new law suggests that it will prevent Muslim women who wear the burqa from visiting libraries or riding public buses.  The Act also provides criteria for granting religious accommodations to public employees. Among other things, any accommodation must be "consistent with the right for equality between women and men," and may "not compromise the principle of State religious neutrality." [Thanks to Scott Mange and Steven H. Sholk for the lead.]