As many of you are aware, the Quebec provincial government passed Bill 62, “An Act to foster adherence to State religious neutrality and, in particular, to provide a framework for requests for accommodations on religious grounds in certain bodies,” on Wednesday, Oct. 18.
This law, ostensibly aimed at ensuring the religiously neutrality of the state, bans face coverings in the public service. It effectively singles out Muslim women who wear a burka or niqab and prohibits them from providing or receiving a wide range of public services. Its application would limit their mobility as well as their access to basic and crucial public services, including hospitals. In addition to provincial government services, the bill also has provisions specifically stating that it applies to municipal services, such as riding public transit, as well as employees of post-secondary institutions.
Although the law has already been passed, no guidelines have been produced detailing its application. In response to public criticism, Liberal ministers have backpedaled, stating that the bill will also affect people wearing various winter garments ― a far cry from its title, which explicitly claims religion as its motive.
We condemn Bill 62 and the continued targeting of Muslim women, as well as other religious minorities, by major political parties in Quebec.
Without formal guidelines from the government or a statement from McGill University, it is difficult to predict the impact that Bill 62 will have on our campus. As university employees, AMUSE members may be directly affected by this law within their capacity as workers. If you fear you may be targeted by Bill 62, please reach out to our Labour Relations Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can support you in whatever ways possible. If you, at any point, are asked to refuse service to someone in virtue of this law, please also get in touch.