Inclusive Religious Neutrality: Rearticulating the Relationship Between Sections 2(a) and 15 of the Charter
(2019) 91 SCLR (2d) 219
26 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2019
Date Written: June 12, 2019
This article provides an analysis of the principle of religious neutrality as it is understood in Canadian constitutional law. The first half of the article provides a jurisprudential survey of religious neutrality, both before and after the advent of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Specific attention is given in these sections to the gradual recognition of religious neutrality’s status as a constitutional principle. The latter half of the article assesses contested visions of religious neutrality in Canadian law and provides recommendations for how this principle should be judicially rearticulated to more purposively align with the Charter’s protection of religious minorities under sections 2(a) and 15. The article concludes with case studies of the controversies surrounding Trinity Western University’s proposed law school and Québec’s Bill 62 to demonstrate how a more purposive articulation of the principle of religious neutrality can help to resolve the inevitable tensions that arise in a pluralistic society.
Keywords: religious neutrality, religious freedom, religious equality, state neutrality
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