CAQ would invoke notwithstanding clause to ban religious symbols from the workplace

Oct 3 2018, 12:39 pm

Quebec’s premier-elect is readying to ban any public employee from wearing a religious symbol to work.

In order to do so, François Legault and the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) would have to invoke the ‘notwithstanding clause’ to enforce the prohibition. The notwithstanding clause (la clause nonobstant), also knowns as the override power, allows provincial legislatures to override certain portions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Quebec’s new political party, which has never before held power in the province before, disapproves of the wearing of religious symbols in the civil workplace. Police officers and teachers for example, would be banned from wearing the kippa or the hijab.

Legault says he would offer those in the civil workforce affected by the ban alternative office jobs if they refuse to comply.

The CAQ said the Quebec Liberals didn’t do enough when it came to religious neutrality and claims “it is more than time to act and adopt legislation clearly establishing the secularity of the state.”

The notwithstanding clause recently made national headlines as new Ontario Premier Doug Ford chose to invoke it for the first time in the province’s history in order to cut the number of Toronto City Council members.

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