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AGSEM's Position on Quebec's Bill 21

Updated: Apr 20, 2019

McGill Community Council Joint Statement:

Recently, the Government of Quebec adopted a deeply troubling law under the guise of secularism that would prohibit certain Quebecers of faith from participating in public life and in the public sector. The academic community has long been a bastion of diversity and free thought. Pluralism enriches our communities and makes Quebec a more prosperous and welcoming place to live. As the associations and labour unions representing the whole of the McGill Community, we stand together against this divisive law which attacks civil liberties.














Propositions adopted by our affiliate, the Fédération nationale des enseignantes et des enseignants du Québec

On February 15, 2019, AGSEM sent four delegates to the FNEEQ Special Assembly on Religious Neutrality in Longueuil, where the following five propositions were adopted:

Proposition no 1 (Proposition #1)

L’élimination des privilèges religieux institutionnels (fiscaux, législatifs, symboliques), y compris le retrait du crucifix des institutions étatiques. (The elimination of institutional religious privileges (fiscal, legislative, symbolic), including the removal of the crucifix from state institutions.)

Proposition no 2 (Proposition #2)

L’opposition à la modification unilatérale des conventions collectives par un projet de loi sans négociation préalable. (Opposition to the unilateral amendment of collective agreements by a bill without prior negotiation.)

Proposition no 3 (Proposition #3)

L’interdiction du prosélytisme religieux au personnel de l’État dans l’exercice de ses fonctions. (Prohibition of religious proselytizing of State personnel in the performance of their duties.)

Proposition no 4 (Proposition #4) L’acceptation du port de symboles religieux pour les enseignantes et enseignants et pour tous les corps d’emploi de l’État. L’opposition à toute tentative de retirer les droits et les libertés accordés dans la Charte québécoise des droits et libertés de la personne et la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés, notamment l’utilisation de la clause nonobstant. (Accepting the wearing of religious symbols for teachers and for all the employees of the State. Opposition to any attempt to withdraw the rights and freedoms granted in the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including the use of the notwithstanding clause.)

Proposition no 5 (Proposition #5)

La réglementation particulière entourant le port de certains symboles religieux ne repose que sur une évaluation des entraves réelles aux services rendus. (The specific regulations surrounding the wearing of certain religious symbols are based solely on an evaluation of the actual barriers to services rendered.)


Motion adopted by AGSEM's Delegates' Council, 11 February 2019.

WHEREAS the current CAQ government intends to table legislation to ban public servants in positions of authority, including teachers, from wearing religious symbols;

WHEREAS the secularism of the state and of public institutions should ensure fairness, equal access to public services, and freedom from discrimination, as well as ensuring that political decisions are not made on the basis of religious beliefs;

WHEREAS on 2 November 2017, the AGSEM General Assembly condemned “Law 62” (“Loi favorisant le respect de la neutralité religieuse de l’État,” which forbids access to public services for anyone wearing a face covering, including access to University, public transportation and health services);

BIRT the AGSEM Delegates’ Council condemns the discriminatory policy intentions of the CAQ government to establish discriminatory dress codes, and require anyone accessing or offering any public service to uncover their face, as ineffective, hypocritical, and disproportionately targeting of religious and racial minorities;

BIFRT the Delegates’ Council reiterates its opposition to the racist and discriminatory instrumentalization of the concept of secularism to target religious and racial minorities;

BIFRT the Delegates’ Council recommends AGSEM’s delegates to FNEEQ defend the above principles at the upcoming Federal Special Assembly;

BIFRT the Delegates’ Council reiterates its commitment to protecting any AGSEM members who face religious discrimination at McGill.


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