Under the proposed charter, overt religious symbols will be banned for public employees.
Photo Credit: Government of Quebec

Charter of values would ban kippas, turbans, hijabs for public servants in Quebec


After weeks of debate and speculation, the Parti Québécois finally unveiled details about the proposed charter of Quebec values at the national assembly this Tuesday.

If adopted, the legislation would prohibit public employees from wearing kippas, turbans, burkas, hijabs and “large” crosses, while they are on the job.

“If the state is neutral, those working for the state should be equally neutral in their image,” said Bernard Drainville, Quebec’s minister responsible for Democratic Institutions.

The plan would also apply to judges, police, prosecutors, public daycare workers, teachers, school employees, hospital workers, and municipal personnel.

The charter would include five proposals:

    1. Amend the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms
    2. Establish a duty of neutrality and reserve for all state personnel.
    3. Limit the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols
    4. Make it mandatory to have one’s face uncovered when providing or receiving a state service
    5. Establish an implementation policy for state organizations

Drainville said some institutions and public organizations might be able to opt out of the ban for a five-year period. Elected members of the national assembly will not be subject to the regulations.

An online poll conducted by SOM and released today suggests 66 per cent of Quebecers support a secular charter that would ban religious symbols for public employees.

The bill is expected to be tabled in the coming months.

If the proposed charter is adopted, anyone giving or receiving public services would need to have their face uncovered. © CBC

Reactions to the announcement in Ottawa

“We are very concerned about any proposal that would discriminate unfairly against people based on their religion, based on their deepest convictions… If it’s determined that a prospective law violates the constitutional protections for freedom of religion to which all Canadians are entitled, we will defend those rights vigorously.” — Federal Employment Minister Jason Kenny

“The text [of the proposed legislation] confirms our worst fears. We’re categorical in rejecting this approach. Human rights don’t have a ‘best before’ date. — NDP leader Tom Mulcair

“[Quebec premier Pauline] Marois has a plan. She has an agenda. She’s trying to play divisive identity politics, because it seems to be the only thing that is able to distract from the serious economic challenges that we face as a province, as a country.” — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau

External links:

Quebec’s Charter of values website

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6 comments on “Charter of values would ban kippas, turbans, hijabs for public servants in Quebec
  1. Avatar Manjot Trehan says:

    Canada is a multicultural country where many immigrants come here. If we do this to them then what would they feel about Canada. I am born in Montreal, Quebec and I am an Sikh, and the fact that this is wrong and should be stopped.

  2. Avatar Shanta says:

    Canada is multi cultural country. Many people migrated here in Canada. One of the reason of migration is multiculturalism. People of different part of countries have their own value and own culture. Beauty of multi-cultural country depends on varieties.

  3. Avatar Peter Ashcroft says:

    I believe that all people should have a full face visible when conversing. reasonably sized religious symbols should be visibly allowed. A person with strong religious beliefs can have problems such the application of abortion when it goes against their firm beliefs.

  4. Avatar Kim Moseng says:

    Have you noticed that we have not seen many westeners on the polls for this – It is a stand that many Canadian would like to see happen but no one has had the guts to do this. Religion does not belong in the work force – for example – Syncrude Canada has had to put in pray rooms for the Muslims so they may prey every day – this is not acceptable – religion does not belong in the work place – they leave the washrooms discusting and do not care that other people have to use the facilities after them – they think this is a right not something the company has supplied for them = many other religions are not given this right so why are they = we are all Canadians – religion comes second – it is your right to practice your religion but not in governmental rolls – schools, health care, government rolls = I do agree with Quebec on this issue – one of few – I think as Canadians it is time
    we stood up for ourselves and put an end to all this Bull – You are either a Canadian or you are not =make a choice – We have standards in our country and those who chose to come herre have to accept the way of like.

  5. Avatar Michael H Boulton says:

    It is very sad that human rights and the freedom of self expression and freedom is sacrifised on the altar (pardon the pun) of political correctness and expediency! Many have given their lives to protect rights in Europe, and in North America. The cultural / political fanatics should not prevail. Redress should be sought in Federal and provincial courts. If not, these racists will prevail!

    • Avatar Francoys Proulx says:

      Agree. Specially with an ideology which is 5% of spirituality and 95% politic. Islam is not JUST a religion. In fact, for Muslims, their is no distinction.