Invited but not welcomed

Where is the promised accommodation of separatist religious communities in Canada?


  • Janet Epp Buckingham


Anabaptist, religious minorities, accommodation, human rights, Canadian history


Canada is generally viewed as a country that respects human rights, but groups that maintain separation from society as part of their religious practices offer particular challenges with regard to protecting their religious freedom. This paper examines three separatist Anabaptist minorities in Canada – the Amish, Hutterites and Mennonites – and their history of religious accommodation. Often, the national government promised these groups accommodation to encourage them to immigrate to Canada, but provincial or local governments subsequently sought to undermine these accommodations. As a result, these groups have sometimes been excluded rather than welcomed.