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Quebec’s attempt to track how many teachers wear religious symbols violates rights and freedoms: FAE

WATCH: One of Quebec's largest teacher's federations is saying a firm “no” to any head count that would single out teachers wearing religious symbols. As Global's Raquel Fletcher reports, the province's secularism bill is set to be tabled this week.

The Fédération autonome de l’Enseignement (FAE) has filed a legal challenge against the provincial government over its attempts to track the number of teachers that wear religious symbols on the job.

The federation is one of the largest in Quebec, representing nine unions and about 43,000 teachers in the province.

READ MORE: ‘It’s a part of me’: Quebec teachers decry proposed religious symbol ban

It argues the government’s tactics to force schools to provide information on religious symbols worn by their employees are unconstitutional, go against Quebec’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms and should never happen again.

WATCH BELOW: Quebec premier meets with Anglo rights group

Quebec premier meets with Anglo rights group
Quebec premier meets with Anglo rights group

On Jan. 25, three school boards say they received phone calls from Deputy Minister of Education Sylvie Barcelo asking if they had statistics on how many employees wore religious symbols.

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READ MORE: Quebec’s proposed religious symbol ban for public workers fuelled by specific symbols: study

Then, on Feb. 5, the FAE said it learned that 2,616 school principals received a survey in June 2018 from the department of education.

WATCH BELOW: Quebec parties divided over religious symbols

Quebec parties divided over religious symbols
Quebec parties divided over religious symbols

One of the questions they were asked: How many people wear visible religious symbols?

READ MORE: CAQ government would fire teachers, judges wearing religious symbols

The federation states 1,164 principals responded to the survey, something FAE president Sylvain Mallette believes lacked “judgment.”

“The operation orchestrated by the Quebec government, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, contradicts both Canada and Quebec’s charters of rights and freedoms,” he said.

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After legal experts analyzed the situation, the FAE said it will file an appeal to defend its members’ rights and freedoms.

READ MORE: EMSB commissioners unite to fight pending legislation on religious neutrality

Mallette insisted the goal is not to block the tabling of the bill on secularism — which is expected to happen as early as Thursday — but make sure that its members are being respected.

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If passed, the ban on religious symbols would affect public employees in positions of authority, including police, judges and teachers.

WATCH BELOW: EMSB community voices opposition to proposed religious symbol ban

EMSB community voices opposition to proposed religious symbol ban
EMSB community voices opposition to proposed religious symbol ban
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