AFTER THE CHARTER: RELIGIOUS FREE EXPRESSION AND OTHER LEGAL FICTIONS IN CANADA

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Abstract:

Since the coming into force of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982, the Charter religion provisions have been interpreted by the appellate courts as erasing religion from public spaces and institutions in Canada, including schools, workplaces, work weeks, criminal laws and public state events. In Trinity Western University v British Columbia College of Teachers, the Supreme Court of Canada most recently confirmed that religious free expression may only be enjoyed in private places such as religious institutions, religious schools and colleges and the family, but may not be exercised in public spaces and institutions when such expression conflicts with State or ‘Charter values’ as pronounced by the courts in the Charter jurisprudence. The decision confirmed that the section 15 ‘equality’ rights of gays and lesbians to be treated exclusively in a positive fashion overrides the section 2(a) freedom of religion and section 15 equality rights of Christian university teaching degree graduates seeking employment in public schools to express religious views. The court adopted a belief-conduct distinction to privatize and stigmatize religious expression at variance with state values.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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