Quebec’s religious neutrality bill passes with a vote of 66-51

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Quebec passes religious neutrality bill
WATCH: Quebec has passed the province’s controversial religious neutrality bill. As Global's Raquel Fletcher reports, opposition parties still insist it doesn’t go far enough – Oct 18, 2017

Quebec politicians have passed the provincial government’s controversial religious neutrality bill with a vote of 66-51.

READ MORE: Quebec’s Bill 62 aims to impose religiously neutral public service

It was tabled by Justice Minister Stephanie Vallée in 2015 and applies primarily to public services.

“In every legislation, there is a risk of it being contested by people who don’t agree with it,” she said.

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It would require citizens giving and receiving services to do so with their faces uncovered — something opponents argue directly discriminates against Muslim women.

Some estimate there are about 50 women who cover their faces with a niqab or burqa in the province.

READ MORE: Will Quebec stop fighting over religious symbols?

They will no longer be able to take a city bus or go to a public school or CEGEP.

Anyone affected can apply for court-ordered religious accommodation, but it is not yet sure what the criteria will be.

WATCH: NDP’s Jagmeet Singh believes Bill 62 ‘violates human rights’

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NDP’s Jagmeet Singh says Quebec’s religious neutrality bill ‘violates human rights’

READ MORE: Quebec Liberals table religious neutrality legislation, promise to better detect radicalization

The bill was initially intended for provincial employees, but was extended to include municipal and public transit workers this year.

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WATCH BELOW: Debating religious neutrality

Opposition parties voted against the hotly debated Bill 62, saying it doesn’t go far enough and should extend to authority figures like judges and police officers.

READ MORE: Quebecers ready to put charter of values to rest

Advocacy groups say they will challenge the law in court.

Quebec is the first jurisdiction in North America to ban religious face coverings for public services.

— with files from The Canadian Press.

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