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Bill 21: Targeting Racial and Religious Minorities in Canada

By July 7, 2023No Comments

“Policies Perpetuating Systemic Racism” is a 10-month-long project funded by the Canada Race Relations Foundation through the Anti-Racism Fund. This initiative delves into the detrimental effects of three legislations in Canada: Quebec’s Bill 21, formerly known as the “Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act,” and the immigration status contingency of the Canada Child Benefit. The project comprises three distinct phases: research, public awareness, and political advocacy. Our ultimate goal is to transform public perception and influence political representatives in reevaluating these policies.

Bill 21, a provincial policy in Quebec, not only adversely affects religious minorities within the province but also perpetuates harm against religious minorities and racialized communities across the entire country. By endorsing racist and hateful behaviors towards the communities impacted by this Bill, it further exacerbates the issue at hand.

The legislation prohibits public sector employees in positions of authority, including teachers, police officers, and judges, from wearing religious symbols. A survey conducted by the Association for Canadian Studies found that 81% of respondents believed that the law negatively affects religious minorities.

The implications of Bill 21 are far-reaching, as it legitimizes discriminatory behavior and fosters a climate of intolerance. By targeting religious symbols, the legislation not only infringes upon individuals’ freedom of expression but also perpetuates the marginalization and exclusion of religious minority communities.

Bill 21, is not simply a Quebec issue; it is a matter that affects the fabric of Canadian society. The legislation legitimizes racist and hateful behavior towards religious and racialized communities, contradicting Canada’s commitment to multiculturalism and equality.

The project “Policies that Perpetuate Systemic Racism, aims to challenge the harmful impact of Bill 21 and two other policies through research, public awareness, and political advocacy. By bringing attention to the discriminatory aspects of these policies, the project seeks to foster a more inclusive and equitable society. The project goals can  be founded on our website here