Toronto council joins Brampton and adopts motion to help fight Quebec's Bill 21 in court

Toronto council joins Brampton and adopts motion to help fight Quebec's Bill 21 in court

Today, Toronto City Council unanimously voted in support of an urgent motion from Mayor John Tory to reaffirm the City of Toronto’s opposition to the Province of Quebec’s Bill 21 and to provide a one-time financial contribution of up to $100,000 to support the joint legal challenge to the Bill being brought by the National Council of Canadian Muslims, the World Sikh Organization and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

“Today, City Council made it very clear that Toronto stands with municipalities from across Canada in opposition to Bill 21 and in support of the legal challenge against this bill,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory. “We cannot simply stand by as Torontonians and Canadians and see a law like this diminish the protection and respect accorded religious and other basic freedoms by our Canadian Charter of Rights of Freedoms.”

City Council also called on all other Canadian municipalities to affirm their opposition to Bill 21 and provide financial contributions to support the legal challenge.

In 2019 the National Assembly of Quebec passed Bill 21, “An Act respecting the laicity of the State” prohibiting civil service employees from wearing religious symbols while exercising their functions.

The law diminishes rights protected by The Canadian Charter of Rights of Freedoms and stands contrary to the values of Torontonians and Canadians.

“Toronto City Council has unanimously taken a consistent and firm stance in opposition to Bill 21 since it was first proposed. City Council reaffirms its support for freedom of religion and expression and its opposition to any legislation that would restrict or prohibit such freedoms,” said the City in a press release.

On Wednesday, Brampton’s city council also approved $100,000 in financial support to a legal challenge against the province of Quebec.

“Bill 21 is discriminatory,” Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said in a statement Wednesday. “As elected leaders, we must never trade foundational principles for electoral purposes that undermine the country at large. Religious freedom is a foundational principle that we must stand up for, and I thank City Council for standing up for what is right.”