The debate on the accommodation is not close to finishing, despite the new law

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The law on the religious neutrality of the State provides that the public services must be given and received face to face, but it allows for exceptions, pursuant to a request for reasonable accommodation.

You thought you’d finally be finished in 2017 with the controversy over the burka and the niqab, the menu halal at the hospital, the prohibition of the ham to the sugar shack, thanks to the new law on the religious neutrality of the State ? Think again.


Bill 62 had to settle once and for all the debate on religious accommodation, 10 years old, but even once adopted, it has not finished bothering the liberals. Opponents want to overturn the law by the courts, while it could be repealed as early as 2018 if the liberals are beaten in the general elections of October.


This law is a result of the commitment of the prime minister Philippe Couillard will address this issue in the first year of his mandate, but in the end, it took three years to get there.


Filed in June 2015, it is anticipated that the public services must be given and received face to face, but it allows for exceptions, pursuant to a request for reasonable accommodation.

“Issue non-existent “

In the beginning of the year, the liberals had perhaps an opportunity to end this heated debate and the adoption of this piece of legislative centerpiece of their program.


In fact, after the attack on the mosque in Québec at the end of January last, the hour was the good will and gestures of openness.


The official opposition parti québécois had made it known that she could vote for the draft law 62, subject to certain conditions, including the addition of the prohibition of religious signs for people in positions of authority, such as judges, prison guards and police officers, as recommended in the original report of the Bouchard-Taylor commission published in 2008.


But the consensus quickly dissipated. The prime minister Philippe Couillard said that the wearing of religious signs in these individuals was an ” issue non-existent “.


The draft law has, however, finally adopted in October. The Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) has committed to repealing the act if it forms the government in the next elections, to present a which contains the recommendations of the report Bouchard-Taylor.


Similarly, the leader of the parti québecois Jean-François Lisée was first promised to present a law more forceful if the Parti québécois forms the next government, but he had to beat a retreat due to the disagreement of his caucus.


The minister of Justice, Stéphanie Vallée, who piloted the bill, has for its part contributed to the confusion. It was first suggested that a person on board the transport had to have the face uncovered throughout the duration of the trip.


Then she was ravisée. The requirement of the face uncovered prevail that amount to the edge, to check the validity of the ticket, when it comes to a special rate obtained by means of an identity card with a photo. And yet, no person shall be deprived of service or out of the force of a bus in case of refusal.


“If my words could be called upon to be construed, I make amends and I apologize for that “, she then had to admit.

Temporary Suspension

The opponents were not slow to climb up to the niche, this time on the front court. From the beginning of November, the national Council of canadian muslims (CNMC), the canadian civil liberties Association (CCLA) and a citizen of quebec muslim wearing the full-face veil, Marie-Michelle Lacoste, have filed a challenge before the superior Court.


They finally obtained the temporary suspension of article 10 of the act, which provides that the government services must be delivered and received with faces uncovered.


This suspension will last as long as the government of Québec has defined the “guidelines” that will allow agencies to determine if the accommodations can be made. These guidelines should be published no later than in June.


The applicants alleged that the law is discriminatory against muslim women covering the face, discrimination based on religion and on the basis of sex.


The federal government has also made the party. The prime minister Justin Trudeau has hinted that it is considering its appeal to defend the rights of Canadians.


Of the rest, the adoption of this law has provoked a wave of disapproval in the rest of Canada. The first two ministers, Kathleen Wynne, Ontario, and Rachel Notley, Alberta, condemned with firmness.


It could in turn affect the approach of Philippe Couillard, who has resolved to take back the stick of pilgrim to arrive eventually reintegrate Quebec into the mainstream of canadian constitutional.

What they say the essential articles of the Law on religious neutrality

Article 10

A member of the staff of an organization must exercise its functions with their faces uncovered.

Similarly, a person who presents himself to receive the service by a staff member of an organization referred to in this chapter must have the face uncovered when providing the service.

Article 11

When processing an accommodation request for a reason that religious result of the application of article 10 of the Charter of rights and freedoms of the individual, the organization ensures :

1 – that the demand is serious ;

2 – that the accommodation requested meets the right to equality between women and men as well as the right of every person to be treated without discrimination ;

3 – that the accommodation requested meets the principle of the religious neutrality of the State ;

4 – that the accommodation is reasonable, that is to say, it must not impose any undue hardship having regard, inter alia, respect for the rights of others, to the health or safety of persons, the proper functioning of the body as well as the associated costs.

Accommodation may only be granted if the applicant has cooperated in seeking a solution that satisfies the reasonableness.