Federal government would join challenge of Quebec's Bill 21 at Supreme Court

Feds may join challenge

Federal Justice Minister David Lametti says his government will join a legal challenge to Quebec's religious symbols law if it reaches the Supreme Court.

Lametti told reporters in Montreal today that the challenge will be a federal issue once it is before the high court.

Both the Quebec government and groups opposing the law are appealing an April 2021 Quebec Superior Court decision that upheld most of the law, while striking down provisions that related to English-language school boards and a ban on members of the provincial legislature wearing face coverings.

The case is currently before the Quebec Court of Appeal, the province's highest court.

The law, commonly known as Bill 21, bans public sector workers who are deemed to be in positions of authority — including teachers, judges and police officers — from wearing religious symbols on the job.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in December that he opposes the law and that his government had not ruled out participating in a legal challenge.

"When it arrives at the Supreme Court of Canada, it is by definition a national issue, and we will be there," Lametti said.

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