Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Kippahs May Be Banned In Quebec Workplaces

MONTREAL (JTA) — Quebec’s incoming government wants to ban some public servants from wearing religious symbols to work, spurring concerns from Jewish groups.

The proposed ban by the Coalition Avenir Québec government is ostensibly to make Quebec public institutions more secular and “neutral” religiously. It would bar police, prison guards, public school teachers and some others from wearing visible kippahs, turbans, hijabs and crucifixes under the possible penalty of dismissal for noncompliance.

Critics say the plan contravenes Canadian human rights charters and is pandering to intolerant populist sentiment being increasingly exploited in other countries. They also say the plan is hypocritical since the new government, which officially assumes power on Oct. 18, is refusing for “heritage” reasons to take down a large crucifix hanging in the Quebec legislature since 1936.

Most native Quebecers are lapsed Roman Catholics.

“The banning of religious symbols and the possible firing of public employees who freely express their religious beliefs is an assault on the fundamental rights and freedoms,” Murray Levine of B’nai Brith Canada said.

Rabbi Reuben Poupko of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs said: “[We] reiterate our long-held position that religious neutrality should be imposed on public institutions, not individuals.”

The proposed ban was an election campaign promise of the Coalition, a center-right populist party led by businessman François Legault, now the premier-elect. Legault and his party won 75 out of 125 seats in the Oct. 1 election and gave the new government the power to pass laws without concern about being ousted in a vote of no-confidence.

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.