Politics

Quebec is passing a law banning face coverings in public service

Quebec set to pass law banning face coverings for anyone receiving public service

The city of Quebec is passing a law prohibiting face coverings for anyone providing or receiving public service.

Bill 62 is ‘An Act to foster adherence to State religious neutrality and, in particular, to provide a framework for religious accommodation requests in certain bodies.

What Bill 62 is intended to do is ‘effectively ban public workers – including doctors, nurses, teachers and daycare workers – as well as those receiving a service from the government; from wearing the nib, burka or any other face covering.’ [CBC]

According to CBC, ‘amendments introduced in August extend the proposed rules to services offered by municipalities, including public transit.’ – meaning anyone who rides a bus or the metro must be unveiled.

Source: The National Post

Quebec’s Minister of Justice Stéphanie Vallée proposed the controversial legislation in 2015.

In response to opposition against this act, Vallée says the proposed law is not a ban or target on religious symbols and that it would also apply, for instance, to masked protesters.

According to her, the legislation is necessary for ‘communication reasons, identification reasons and security reasons’.

Bill 62 fulfils a Liberal promise to compel those giving or receiving public services to keep their faces uncovered. Also, the Liberals hold a majority of seats at Quebec’s National Assembly.

Two major Quebec political parties – the Parti Québecois and Coalition Avenir Quebec – say the bill doesn’t go far enough. They are calling for more strong legislation on the issue.

The legislation provides a case for exceptions if there is a “serious” request for accommodation on religious grounds.

Noteworthy details:

  • The bill would also bar subsidized daycares from teaching children specific religious beliefs.
  • The bill also details under what circumstances employers and schools should refuse requests for time off for religious reasons.

The CBC reports that the bill is expected to become law as early as today and explains why Quebec is introducing this legislation.

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