5 facts about religion in Canada

Source: PEW Centre

By Michael Lipka

The Canadian province of Quebec recently enacted a new law that bans many public employees – including teachers, police officers and judges – from wearing religious symbols in the workplace. While advocates of the measure say it promotes the separation of church and state,  opponents already have challenged the law in court, saying it targets Muslim women and erodes religious freedom.

Quebec is not the only jurisdiction to enact restrictions on religious dress in public. In fact, France, which once ruled Quebec as part of a large North American colony known as “New France,” banned head scarves and other religious symbols in public schools in 2004, and banned full-face veils in all public places in 2011. A ban on face veils is also in force in several other European countries. Although Pew Research Center has not asked Canadians for their opinions on these laws, most people across Western Europe favor at least some restrictions on Muslim women’s dress.

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