Bill 21 legal defence fund
In 2019, the Province of Quebec enacted Bill 21 (An Act Respecting the Laicity of the State), which prohibits public servants from wearing religious symbols including hijabs, turbans, yarmulke, the cross and many others.
In Canada, Freedom of Religion is protected by Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Human Rights Act. Worldwide, Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, states wearing signs or clothing as a religious symbol is a fundamental right to exercise freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.
After Bill 21 was passed in 2019, Calgary’s City Council passed a resolution condemning it. In December of 2021, the impacts of Bill 21 were felt across Canada when a teacher in Chelsea, Quebec was no longer allowed to teach in a classroom setting because she wears a hijab. In response, the City of Brampton was the first municipality to pledge financial support in the amount of $100,000 to the joint legal challenge against Bill 21 launched by Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and the World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO). The City of Brampton challenged other major cities including Calgary to join the fight against Bill 21.
Calgary is the third most diverse city in Canada, and Council agreed that there should be a better mechanism for individuals to show their support for the legal challenge against Bill 21. In collaboration with CCLA, NCCM and WSO, a fundraising page has been created for those who wish to support the legal challenge against Bill 21.