Ruling on Quebec’s secularism law expected to be delivered Tuesday

A judge’s ruling that could determine the future of Quebec’s controversial secularism law is expected to be delivered early this week.

Sources confirmed to CTV News that the ruling is likely to come on Tuesday.

Adopted in 2019, Bill 21 is being challenged by several groups who have called the law discriminatory and say it violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Under the law, public employees in positions of authority, such as police officers, judges and teachers, are banned from wearing religious symbols such as hijabs and kippahs.

The Quebec government has argued the law is moderate and does not violate freedom of religion, and said it is supported by a majority of Quebecers. 

Four separate lawsuits challenging Bill 21 were merged into one trial, which was held over several weeks at the end of 2020.

The law makes pre-emptive use of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ notwithstanding clause, which shields legislation from court challenges over violations of fundamental rights.

In a bid to get around the notwithstanding clause, the plaintiffs invoked the sexual equality guarantees in Section 28 of the Charter, which they maintain are not covered by the notwithstanding clause.

With files from The Canadian Press

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