Sunday 18 November 2018

Québec workers hit by religious clothing ban

If employees refuse to comply with the law, they will be forced to take an office job with a minimal public contact or quit (stock picture)
If employees refuse to comply with the law, they will be forced to take an office job with a minimal public contact or quit (stock picture)

Christopher Guly

Canadian public employees may be banned from wearing religious clothing under a "secularism law" being proposed in Québec.

Plans to forbid public employees from wearing religious symbols, including a Jewish kippah or a hijab, were announced by the centre-right Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) after they swept to victory in provincial elections.

Restrictions would be placed on all religious symbols and would apply to judges, prosecutors, police officers, prison guards and school teachers in the French-speaking province.

The policy was announced by François Legault, leader of the CAQ, which took power in Québec on Monday after defeating the ruling Liberal Party.

If employees refuse to comply with the law, they will be forced to take an office job with a minimal public contact or quit.

Justin Trudeau, Canada's prime minister, from the Liberal Party, urged Mr Legault to reconsider his proposed ban.

"I am not of the opinion that the state should tell a woman what she can or cannot wear," he said. He added that such personal choice and freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

However, Mr Legault said he plans to rely on an obscure clause to override any constitutional challenges to his planned law.

Irish Independent

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