Recent studies depict that a few years after enforcing Quebec’s secularism policy, specific populations feel more alienated than their majority counterparts (Rukavina, 2022). According to a lead researcher in the Association for Canadian Studies, minorities face increasing hate and prejudice cases. After passing in 2019, bill 21 banned government officials, educators, and high-profile people from wearing religious costumes such as Turbans and Hijabs. Banning hijab has led to discrimination against Muslim women, and they have faced acute impacts of the law (Rukavina, 2022). Social stigmatization, marginalization, and a reduction in well-being have been predictable. Generally, three religious minorities are victims of the detrimental impacts of Bill 21; however, Muslim women have experienced the most acute impacts.
Based on a recent study, 78% of female Muslim respondents said that they have not felt accepted in Quebec since the implementation of Bill 21 (Rukavina, 2022). On the other hand, 58% of the respondents said they had experienced prejudicial remarks about Muslims from friends, family, and workmates. A recent study investigated comments Muslim women have heard. One said some people called them “women wearing rags” and insisted Muslims should go back to their countries if they cannot stop wearing them” (Rukavina, 2022). Recent studies depict that people in power have maltreated about 50% of Muslim women. One woman said she was referred to as a “dirty immigrant” by law enforcement officials. Muslim women insist they do not feel safe while in public. Banning hijabs has increased prejudicial attitudes against Muslim women.
Practitioners can enhance workplace diversity in various ways. First, they should enforce the democratic duty of the state and the government of Quebec to promote neutrality toward religion is the basis of the idea (Fleras, 2021). This obligation also prevents the institutions from endorsing a particular religion or forbidding individuals from engaging in personal religious activities. The justice department should uphold the duty of neutrality as an independent constitutional protection that should safeguard all Canadians, regardless of their gender, religion, or ethnicity. To foster workplace diversity, the Quebec government should not violate neutrality and equality by forbidding religious practitioners from pursuing their desired vocations. This will be in line with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
By educating administrators about the benefits of diversity, organizations may encourage it in the workplace. Employees and their managers need to communicate. Most employees quit their jobs, especially if they have manager issues. Never rely on managers’ knowledge of the benefits of employee engagement or their aptitude for handling a varied staff. Organizations should enforce programs that give them the capabilities and knowledge to lead and motivate diverse practitioners.
Putting together cultural sensitivity development programs is essential. Review the employee feedback programs and reporting structures to ensure a clear communication channel between supervisors and their direct subordinates. When diversity is respected and the leadership accesses the proper resources, the team’s potential is limitless. Organizations should carefully examine policies and workplace conditions to create a more diverse workplace. Organizations should adopt new rules or systemically adjust current rules to promote worker diversity, from hiring to performance evaluations and promotions.
There are exemptions in the hijab ban that bridges the gap between minority and majority populations. The founder of the law, Simon Jolin-Barrette, insists the law only prohibits religious symbols such as hijabs for persons in authoritative positions such as teachers, judges, and law enforcement personnel. Therefore, Muslims and other religions can wear or do whatever they need. According to Jolin-Barrette, Quebecers are happy with Bill 21, and critics of the hijab ban are trying to divide Quebecers. Jolin-Barrette insists that Bill 21 units Canadians, but it has widened the gap between majorities and minorities (Rukavina, 2022). Banning Muslim women from practicing their culture widens ethnic gaps, whether at home or t work. If national unity in Canada perceives specific populations as harmful, it depicts democratic failure.
In 2021, a Canadian justice department supported the Quebec hijab ban for public servants (Ellsworth, 2021). However, there was an exemption that bridges the gap between minorities and majorities. The Supreme Court ruled that officials should not implement Bill 21 in English educational institutions since it goes against people’s rights and freedom. Quebec has French and English institutions. Based on one ruling, Quebec might prohibit specific factors such as Muslim Hijab and crosses among federal employees. National Assembly employees are allowed to wear face clothing. Bill 21 was made a policy in 2019; Muslim women insisted the law targeted their religion since they had to decide on personal beliefs and vocations. On the other hand, the provincial government said the law aimed at upholding the province’s secularism.
The government will lift the hijab ban in the future. Transformation in Canadian society constantly increases the concept of neutrality, where the federal and provincial governments should interfere with people’s beliefs and religious practices. The justice department of Quebec and Canada progressively recognizes the association between the duty of neutrality and the provision of the Charter protecting every citizen. Such steps will help improve the multicultural nature of Canadian society. Second, it sustains a democratic environment, as declared by section one of the Canadian Charter. Pursuing such ideologies requires the state and province of Quebec to ensure that people participate freely and practice rights irrespective of their beliefs and religion. The hijab ban will end because the government and advocacy groups consistently guarantee freedom of conscience and religion.
Quebecers and Canadians should not expect more bills banning religious symbols due to policy changes continuously recognizing the significance of equality and neutrality. The upshot of such ideologies is that neutrality-based religion and other practices are crucial in Canada; besides, it has been embedded in the Constitution of Canada before the Charter of Rights was developed in the early 80s (Bird & Ross, 2022). Some researchers insist that the right to ethics and religious practice are crucial for the Charter since the Canadian government has developed based on the association between government, religion, and irreligion. The idea of neutrality, according to which the federal and provincial governments should not meddle with people’s beliefs and religious activities, is continually expanding in Canadian culture.
Officials from Quebec insist that covering Bill 21 with Section 33 of the Charter cannot be influenced by the principles of the Charter rights; for example, freedom of religion(Bird & Ross, 2022). Many policymakers support this notion despite knowing that it is disturbingly discriminatory. In reality, banning hijab renders the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms useless because it goes against people’s fundamental rights that the latter protects. The bill is unlawful; also, specific segments of the Charter cannot guarantee the policy’s passage into the legal frameworks (Mégret, 2022). According to critics of Bill 21, the federal and provincial governments are not allowed to enact policies that mandate religion as a condition for participating and being part of Canada(Bird & Ross, 2022). The principle was in place before the Charter, meaning Section 33 cannot impact its operations.
The foundation of the principle is the democratic responsibility of the state and Quebec government to foster freedom of religious practices and beliefs. Similarly, the responsibility limits the government from choosing one religion or restricting people from individualistic religious practices. The justice department should establish and enforce different policies founded on the fact that equality is an independent right meant to protect Canadians, irrespective of their gender, religion, or ethnicity. By prohibiting religious practitioners from intended careers, the government of Quebec renders the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms useless since it violates neutrality and equality.
The hijab ban goes against the requirements of Article 19(1) (a), which protects people and provides equal opportunities for everyone, irrespective of their ethnicity. After Quebec’s secularism law implementation, specific populations, such as Muslim women, are feeling increasingly alienated and hopeless; this goes against the guidelines of Article 19(1) (a). Due to the hijab ban, Muslims have been victims of aggression, mistrust, and discrimination; some experience threats and violence. There have been severe cases of stigmatization, marginalization, and reduction in well-being. While three religious minorities have experienced the impacts of Bill 21, the detrimental impacts primarily affect Muslims, especially Muslim women.
Canadian Constitution gives people the right to wear Wearing hijab as an expression protected under Article 19(1) (a). This freedom contradicts the banning of the hijab because it allows people to express their culture and belief without interruption from anyone. Article 19(1) (a) enables citizens to speak and express ideas without discrimination. Reasonable restrictions, such as decency and moral values, regulate this freedom. The right to speech and expression involves any types of cloth people wear because it is a form of expression. Article 19 ensures that people are equal irrespective of religion or ethnicity; it also prohibits discrimination. Such rights give people the freedom of religion and the ability to wear attires of choice without fear of discrimination.
Bird, B. & Ross, D. (2022). Bill 21 offends the constitutional doctrine of neutrality to religion. Policy Opinions. https://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/november-2022/bill-21-religious-neutrality/
Ellsworth B. (2021). Canada court rules hijab ban legal for public servants. https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/canada-court-rules-hijab-ban-legal-for-public-servants/2214966
Fleras, A. (2021). “More Solitudes?” Contextualizing Quebec’s Bill 21. RESEARCH AND STUDIES ON RACE RELATIONS IN CANADA, 50.
Mégret, F. (2022). Ban on religious symbols in the public service: Quebec’s Bill 21 in a global pluralist perspective. Global Constitutionalism, pp. 1–32.
Rukavina S. (2022). New research shows Bill 21 having a ‘devastating’ impact on religious minorities in Quebec. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/bill-21-impact-religious-minorities-survey-1.6541241#:~:text=Bill%2021%2C%20which%20passed%20in,or%20turbans%20%E2%80%94%20while%20at%20work.