Small victory in court for groups fighting Bill 21
Organizations trying to challenge Bill 21 won a small victory in court on Thursday.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), along with Ichrak Nourel Hak — a university student who wears a hijab — were granted leave to appeal a decision made in Superior Court a few weeks ago.
On July 18, Superior Court Judge Michel Yergeau rejected a request by the groups to have Quebec’s secularism law suspended.
Bill 21 bans the wearing of religious symbols by certain employees in the provincial civil service.
In court Thursday morning, the groups’ lawyers argued Bill 21 is causing immediate harm to minority groups in Quebec.
Court of Appeal Chief Justice Nicole Duval Hesler ruled that the case can move forward, but did not initially give any reasons for her decision.
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“We are very pleased with today’s decision,” said NCCM’s deputy director Nadia Hassan. “We know this is an important victory that gives hope to those who are affected by this law as their livelihoods remain at risk for no other reason than their faith. We promised Quebecers and Canadians that we would stand up for what is right, and we intend to follow suit.”
Noa Mendelsohn Aviv of the CCLA said in a statement that the organization is “delighted” with Thursday’s decision.
“We hope it leads to a swift end to the harmful impacts caused by this law, which have affected people’s jobs, financial security, and peace of mind.”
The group hopes the Court of Appeal will hear their case in the fall.
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