Quebec’s Bill 21 and the secular conceit of religious neutrality


  • Kristopher E. G. Kinsinger


Canada, secularism, laicity, religious freedom, liberalism


Quebec’s Bill 21, An Act respecting the laicity of the State, prohibits many categories of civil servants from wearing religious symbols while on duty. Although popular in Quebec, the legislation has been denounced elsewhere as an intrusion into matters that fall outside state authority. In this article, I survey the history of Bill 21 and situate its conception of religious neutrality within the spectrum of Canadian perspectives on this issue. Specifically, I juxtapose Bill 21’s restrictive understanding of this principle with a more inclusive vision of religious neutrality that creates meaningful space for the participation of religious minorities in public life.

Author Biography

Kristopher E. G. Kinsinger

Kristopher E. G. Kinsinger, National Director of the Runnymede Society; of the Ontario Bar.