BRAMPTON, ON (December 15, 2021) – Today at its Special Meeting, Brampton City Council approved $100,000 of financial support to the, National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), the World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) Legal Challenge against the Province of Quebec’s Bill 21, the first Canadian municipality to contribute to this challenge.
The City of Brampton is one of Canada’s fastest-growing and most diverse communities, and this Term of Council is committed to advancing one of its top priorities: Brampton is a Mosaic. By approving this financial assistance, Brampton City Council shows its support for the value diversity brings to the local community and all of Canada.
Today’s Council meeting Resolution states:
Whereas Bramptonians value the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; and
Whereas Brampton Council believes we cannot allow the defense of the Charter and the foundational value of religious freedom to be on the backs of racialized communities against the Province of Quebec with unlimited legal resources; and
Whereas, if Canada’s Big Cities assist to fund the legal challenge, then we level the playing field since it is not a fair legal fight in the absence of federal government involvement; and
Whereas a Supreme Court decision allowing the infringement of religious freedom would have negative consequences for Bramptonians and all Canadians;
Therefore Be It Resolved:
1. That the City of Brampton support the current legal challenge against the discrimination of freedom of religion in Quebec’s Bill 21 - An Act respecting the laicity of the State; and
2. That the Council of The Corporation of the City of Brampton provide a one-time 2021 contribution of up to $100,000 to the joint legal challenges of Bill 21 by National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), the World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), with staff identifying the appropriate funding source; and
3. That a copy of this Resolution be sent to:
a. the Canadian Big City Mayors, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) requesting they share with all their member municipalities inviting municipal contributions to support the legal challenge; and
b. the Region of Peel, City of Mississauga, Town of Caledon and all Members of Parliament and Ontario Members of Provincial Parliament, requesting their support.
• In 2019, the Government of Quebec proposed legislation (Bill 21) that would prohibit public employees from wearing visible religious symbols in the workplace. Bill 21 could ban such items as turbans, kippahs, hijabs and visible crucifixes.
• At that time, Brampton City Council joined colleagues on Montreal City Council who unanimously approved a declaration against the Quebec Government's secularism bill, with such declaration stating that Quebec is already a secular society, and there is no need to legislate what employees wear. The 2019 Brampton City Council Motions on Bill 21 can be found here.
• According to the 2016 census, the City of Brampton had the fourth largest visible minority population in Canada and third in Ontario.
• There are 234 different ethnic origins reportedly speaking 115 different languages in Brampton
• Between 2011 and 2016, a total of 39,915 immigrants arrived in Brampton. India remains the most common place of birth.
• In 2016, 52.25 per cent of Brampton's population was born outside of Canada.
“Bill 21 is discriminatory. I am pleased that Brampton City Council has stepped up to recognize that diversity is a strength of our Mosaic community, as it is in Quebec and across the country. 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.”
- Patrick Brown, Mayor, City of Brampton
“This commitment by the City of Brampton in supporting the battle by Quebecers against Bill 21 sets the example for other cities across the country to stand on the right side of history. As one of the most diverse cities in Canada, there are many people in Brampton who wear religious clothing. Through this support, the City validates the right of every person in Brampton and Canada, that their right to wear religious clothing and be who they are is a right that needs to be defended. Today, Brampton residents are assured by their local government that their freedom of religion is protected over the long-term. We thank City Council for standing alongside racialized communities and taking meaningful action to support those who are standing for our civil liberties.”
- Mustafa Farooq, Chief Executive Officer, National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM)
“We welcome the City of Brampton taking a stand for religious freedom and supporting the challenge against Bill 21. While community groups like WSO, NCCM and CCLA are challenging this discriminatory law in court, this is a matter that affects the freedoms of all Canadians and we need to stand united against religious discrimination. We need to see our leaders take a strong stand for our collective human rights and we thank Brampton City Council for leading the way.”
- Sharanjeet Kaur, Sr. Vice-President, World Sikh Organization
As one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada, Brampton is home to more than 700,000 people and 75,000 businesses. People are at the heart of everything we do. We are energized by our diverse communities, we attract investment, and we are embarking on a journey to lead technological and environmental innovation. We partner for progress to build a healthy city that is safe, sustainable and successful. Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Learn more at www.brampton.ca.
Media Relations, City of Brampton
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