SUMMARY OF BILL 60 AND AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL’S POSITION ON THE PROPOSED LAW
Bill 60 was introduced in Quebec’s National Assembly in 2013. The Bill proposed, among other measures, to prohibit employees of the government of Quebec from wearing conspicuous religious symbols.
Amnesty International wrote a brief to the National Assembly expressing concern that the proposed Quebec Charter of Values would violate the rights to freedom of religion, expression, assembly, and the right to work. Amnesty International observed that even if Bill 60 contains neutral language, it would have disproportionate effects on women as well as religious and ethnic minorities that wear conspicuous religious symbols such as scarves or veils, depriving them of having access to public participation and important public services. International law permits restrictions on wearing religious symbols in limited circumstances where they are necessary and proportionate to a legitimate objective. However, international law does not permit governments to impose blanket obligations on people to dress or not dress in a certain way.
STATUS OF BILL
Bill 60 died following the election of a new provincial government in 2014, which opposed the proposed Quebec Charter of Values.
Amnesty International’s brief to the Quebec National Assembly on the Quebec Charter of Values
“Charter of Quebec Values: Prohibiting All Government Employees from Wearing Conspicuous Religious Symbols Is Disproportionate” (20 September 2013)