Today, City Council unanimously voted in support of an urgent motion from Mayor John Tory to reaffirm the City of Toronto’s opposition to the Province of Quebec’s Bill 21 and to provide a one-time financial contribution of up to $100,000 to support the joint legal challenge to the Bill being brought by the National Council of Canadian Muslims, the World Sikh Organization and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
City Council also called on all other Canadian municipalities to affirm their opposition to Bill 21 and provide financial contributions to support the legal challenge.
In 2019 the National Assembly of Quebec passed Bill 21, “An Act respecting the laicity of the State” prohibiting civil service employees from wearing religious symbols while exercising their functions. The law diminishes rights protected by The Canadian Charter of Rights of Freedoms and stands contrary to the values of Torontonians and Canadians.
Toronto City Council has unanimously taken a consistent and firm stance in opposition to Bill 21 since it was first proposed. City Council reaffirms its support for freedom of religion and expression and its opposition to any legislation that would restrict or prohibit such freedoms. Toronto is one of the most diverse and multicultural cities on the planet. It is home to many different religious communities and is a city where people of all faiths can feel assured and comfortable when wearing their religious symbols in schools, workplaces, and government institutions. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides that everyone has the right to these fundamental freedoms of conscience and religion.
The motion proposed to City Council by Mayor John Tory was seconded by Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão, Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson, Councillor Shelley Carroll, Councillor Mike Layton and Councillor James Pasternak. The Motion was deemed urgent in order to provide a commitment of financial resources as soon as possible to support for the legal challenge to Bill 21.
“Today, City Council made it very clear that Toronto stands with municipalities from across Canada in opposition to Bill 21 and in support of the legal challenge against this bill. We cannot simply stand by as Torontonians and Canadians and see a law like this diminish the protection and respect accorded religious and other basic freedoms by our Canadian Charter of Rights of Freedoms.”
– Mayor John Tory
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