NEWS

Quebec tables new religious neutrality bill banning face coverings

06/10/2015 12:47 EDT | Updated 06/10/2016 05:59 EDT
Quebec is again taking steps aimed at barring public servants from wearing face-covering religious garments at work, and preventing members of the public from covering their faces while receiving government services.

However, Bill 62 – the neutrality bill tabled Wednesday in the National Assembly – doesn't go as far as the previous Parti Québécois government's efforts to ban all religious symbols.The province would accommodate those symbols under certain conditions.

"We don't judge people for their beliefs or absence of beliefs," said Quebec Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée. 

"We are convinced the way we are approaching this is respectful and will be a plus for society"

According to the bill, titled the "Act to foster adherence to State religious neutrality and, in particular, to provide a framework for religious accommodation requests in certain bodies," officials could refuse an accommodation request for security or identification reasons.

The neutrality bill was one of two, tabled Wednesday by the provincial justice minister, on the most controversial issues facing the Liberal government.

Vallée also tabled Bill 59, aimed at fighting hate speech.

She said Bill 59 would establish a new process to report any cases of hate speech or speech inciting violence to the Quebec Human Rights Commission.

The proposed legislation would also give that tribunal new responsibilities and new investigative powers concerning hate speech, she said.

The legislation also permits the creation of an online list containing names of anyone convicted of promoting hate.

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