R-26.2.01 - Act to foster adherence to State religious neutrality and, in particular, to provide a framework for requests for accommodations on religious grounds in certain bodies

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chapter R-26.2.01
Act to foster adherence to State religious neutrality and, in particular, to provide a framework for requests for accommodations on religious grounds in certain bodies
STATE RELIGIOUS NEUTRALITYOctober 18 2017October 18 2017
(Preamble repealed).
THE PARLIAMENT OF QUÉBEC ENACTS AS FOLLOWS:
2017, c. 19, pream.; 2019, c. 12, s. 20.
CHAPTER I
PURPOSE
2017, c. 19, c. I2017, c. 19, c. I.
1. This Act imposes, to the extent it provides for, a duty of religious neutrality on personnel members of public bodies in the exercise of their functions, in accordance with the requirements of State laicity.
The Act also sets out criteria to be taken into consideration when dealing with requests for accommodations on religious grounds resulting from the application of the Charter of human rights and freedoms (chapter C-12).
2017, c. 192017, c. 19, s. 1; 2019, c. 122019, c. 12, s. 21.
CHAPTER II
MEASURES FOSTERING ADHERENCE TO STATE RELIGIOUS NEUTRALITY
2017, c. 19, c. II2017, c. 19, c. II.
DIVISION I
SCOPE
2017, c. 19, Div. I2017, c. 19, Div. I.
2. The measures set out in this chapter apply to the personnel members of the following public bodies:
(1)  government departments;
(2)  budget-funded bodies, bodies other than budget-funded bodies and government enterprises listed in Schedules 1 to 3 to the Financial Administration Act (chapter A-6.001), as well as bodies whose capital forms part of the domain of the State;
(3)  bodies whose personnel is appointed in accordance with the Public Service Act (chapter F-3.1.1);
(4)  government agencies listed in Schedule C to the Act respecting the process of negotiation of the collective agreements in the public and parapublic sectors (chapter R-8.2);
(5)  municipalities, metropolitan communities, intermunicipal boards and municipal and regional housing bureaus, with the exception of municipalities governed by the Cree Villages and the Naskapi Village Act (chapter V-5.1) or the Act respecting Northern villages and the Kativik Regional Government (chapter V-6.1);
(6)  public transit authorities, the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain and any other operator of a shared transportation system;
(7)  school boards established under the Education Act (chapter I-13.3), the Commission scolaire du Littoral established by the Act respecting the Commission scolaire du Littoral (1966-1967, chapter 125), the Comité de gestion de la taxe scolaire de l’île de Montréal, general and vocational colleges established under the General and Vocational Colleges Act (chapter C-29), and university-level educational institutions listed in paragraphs 1 to 11 of section 1 of the Act respecting educational institutions at the university level (chapter E-14.1);
(8)  public institutions governed by the Act respecting health services and social services (chapter S-4.2), except public institutions referred to in Parts IV.1 and IV.3 of that Act, joint procurement groups referred to in section 435.1 of that Act, and health communication centres referred to in the Act respecting pre-hospital emergency services (chapter S-6.2); and
(9)  bodies to which the National Assembly appoints the majority of the members.
All directors or members of a body referred to in the first paragraph, except elected persons, who receive remuneration, other than a reimbursement of expenses, from such a body are also considered personnel members of the body.
2017, c. 192017, c. 19, s. 2; I.N. 2019-05-01; 2019, c. 122019, c. 12, s. 22.
3. For the purposes of this chapter, the following are also personnel members of a public body:
(1)  National Assembly personnel members and Lieutenant-Governor staff members;
(2)  persons appointed or designated by the National Assembly to an office under its authority and the personnel directed by them;
(3)  persons whose personnel is appointed in accordance with the Public Service Act (chapter F-3.1.1) and the personnel directed by them;
(4)  commissioners appointed by the Government under the Act respecting public inquiry commissions (chapter C-37) and the personnel directed by them;
(5)  any other person appointed by the Government or by a minister to exercise an adjudicative function within the administrative branch, including arbitrators whose names appear on a list drawn up by the Minister of Labour in accordance with the Labour Code (chapter C-27);
(6)  peace officers; and
(7)  physicians, dentists and midwives who practise in a centre operated by a public institution referred to in subparagraph 8 of the first paragraph of section 2.
2017, c. 192017, c. 19, s. 3.
DIVISION II
DUTY OF PERSONNEL MEMBERS OF PUBLIC BODIES
2017, c. 19, Div. II2017, c. 19, Div. II.
4. Adherence to the principle of State religious neutrality includes, in particular, the duty for personnel members of public bodies to act, in the exercise of their functions, so as to neither favour nor hinder a person because of the person’s religious affiliation or non-affiliation or because of their own religious convictions or beliefs or those of a person in authority.
2017, c. 192017, c. 19, s. 4.
5. The duty of religious neutrality does not apply to personnel members while they are providing spiritual care and guidance services in a university‑level educational institution or general and vocational college referred to in subparagraph 7 of the first paragraph of section 2, in a centre operated by a public institution referred to in subparagraph 8 of that paragraph or in a correctional facility governed by the Act respecting the Québec correctional system (chapter S‑40.1).
Nor does that duty apply to personnel members while they are providing instruction of a religious nature in a university‑level educational institution.
2017, c. 192017, c. 19, s. 5.
6. Despite the duty of religious neutrality, health professionals may refuse to recommend or provide professional services because of their personal convictions, as permitted by law.
2017, c. 192017, c. 19, s. 6.
DIVISION III
CONTRACTUAL MEASURES
2017, c. 19, Div. III2017, c. 19, Div. III.
7. A public body referred to in the first paragraph of section 2 may require any persons or partnerships with whom or which it enters into a contract, or to whom or which it grants financial assistance, to fulfill the duty set out in Division II if the contract or the granting of financial assistance is for the provision of services that are inherent in the body’s mission or if the services are performed in its personnel’s place of work. The same applies to any person in authority referred to in any of paragraphs 2 to 4 of section 3.
2017, c. 192017, c. 19, s. 7; 2019, c. 122019, c. 12, s. 23.
CHAPTER III
MEASURES WITHIN VARIOUS BODIES
2017, c. 19, c. III2017, c. 19, c. III.
DIVISION I
SCOPE
2017, c. 19, Div. I2017, c. 19, Div. I.
8. The measures set out in this chapter apply to the personnel members of a body who are referred to in Chapter II and to the personnel members of the following bodies:
(1)  childcare centres, home childcare coordinating offices and subsidized day care centres governed by the Educational Childcare Act (chapter S-4.1.1);
(2)  institutions accredited for the purposes of subsidies under the Act respecting private education (chapter E-9.1) and institutions whose instructional program is the subject of an international agreement within the meaning of the Act respecting the Ministère des Relations internationales (chapter M-25.1.1); and
(3)  private institutions under agreement, intermediary resources and family-type resources governed by the Act respecting health services and social services (chapter S-4.2).
For the purposes of this chapter, recognized subsidized home childcare providers governed by the Educational Childcare Act and persons directed by them are also considered personnel members of a body. The same applies to persons not otherwise subject to this chapter, while they are exercising functions provided for by law for which they were appointed or designated by the Government or a minister.
2017, c. 192017, c. 19, s. 8.
9. (Repealed).
2017, c. 192017, c. 19, s. 9; 2019, c. 122019, c. 12, s. 24.
DIVISION II
Repealed, 2019, c. 12, s. 24.
2017, c. 19, Div. II2017, c. 19, Div. II; 2019, c. 122019, c. 12, s. 24.
10. (Repealed).
2017, c. 192017, c. 19, s. 10; 2019, c. 122019, c. 12, s. 24.
DIVISION III
ACCOMMODATIONS ON RELIGIOUS GROUNDS
2017, c. 19, Div. III2017, c. 19, Div. III.
11. When dealing with a request for an accommodation on religious grounds resulting from the application of section 10 of the Charter of human rights and freedoms (chapter C-12), the body must make sure that
(1)  the request is serious;
(2)  the accommodation requested is consistent with the right to equality of women and men and the right of every person to be treated without discrimination;
(3)  the accommodation requested is consistent with the principle of State religious neutrality; and
(4)  the accommodation is reasonable in that it does not impose undue hardship with regard to, among other considerations, the rights of others, public health and safety, the proper operation of the body, and the costs involved.
An accommodation may be granted only if the person making the request has cooperated in seeking a solution that meets the criterion of reasonableness.
2017, c. 192017, c. 19, s. 11.
12. The Minister must establish guidelines for dealing with requests for accommodations on religious grounds in order to support bodies in their application of section 11.
The guidelines must be made public using the means the Minister considers appropriate.
2017, c. 192017, c. 19, s. 12; 2019, c. 122019, c. 12, s. 25.
13. When a request for an accommodation on religious grounds by a personnel member involves an absence from work, more specific consideration must be given to the following factors:
(1)  the frequency and duration of absences on such grounds;
(2)  the size of the administrative unit to which the person making the request belongs, the ability of the unit to adapt, and the interchangeability of the body’s workforce;
(3)  the consequences of the absence on the work of the person making the request, on the work of other personnel members and on the organization of services;
(4)  the possible arrangements by the person making the request, including modifying their work schedule, accumulating or using their bank of hours or vacation days, or their undertaking to make up the hours missed; and
(5)  fairness with regard to the employment conditions of other personnel members, including the number of days of paid leave and work schedules.
2017, c. 192017, c. 19, s. 13.
14. If a request for an accommodation on religious grounds concerns a student attending an educational institution established by a school board, the school board must take into account the objectives set out in the Education Act (chapter I-13.3) to ensure that the request does not compromise
(1)  compulsory school attendance;
(2)  the basic school regulations established by the Government;
(3)  the school’s educational project;
(4)  the mission of schools, which is to impart knowledge to students, foster their social development and give them qualifications, in keeping with the principle of equal opportunity, while enabling them to undertake and achieve success in a course of study; and
(5)  the ability of the institution to provide students with the educational services provided for by law.
This section also applies to institutions accredited for purposes of subsidies under the Act respecting private education (chapter E-9.1), except such institutions that provide college instruction services, with the necessary modifications.
2017, c. 192017, c. 19, s. 14.
DIVISION IV
Repealed, 2019, c. 12, s. 26.
2017, c. 19, Div. IV2017, c. 19, Div. IV; 2019, c. 122019, c. 12, s. 26.
15. (Repealed).
2017, c. 192017, c. 19, s. 15; 2019, c. 122019, c. 12, s. 26.
CHAPTER IV
INTERPRETATIVE AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
2017, c. 19, c. IV2017, c. 19, c. IV.
16. (Repealed).
2017, c. 192017, c. 19, s. 16; 2019, c. 122019, c. 12, s. 27.
17. It is incumbent on the person exercising the highest administrative authority over the personnel members referred to in Chapters II and III to take the necessary measures to ensure compliance with the measures set out in those chapters. That person may delegate the function to a person within his or her organization. In addition, that person must designate an accommodation officer within the personnel.
The functions of the officer are to consist in advising the person and the personnel members of the body regarding accommodation matters, and making recommendations or giving opinions to assist them in dealing with any requests received.
2017, c. 192017, c. 19, s. 17; 2019, c. 122019, c. 12, s. 28.
17.1. No accommodation or other derogation or adaptation, except those provided for in this Act, may be granted in connection with the provisions of this Act that concern fulfillment of the duty of religious neutrality.
2019, c. 122019, c. 12, s. 29.
18. The first guidelines established by the Minister in accordance with section 12 must be examined by the competent committee of the National Assembly within 60 days of their publication.
2017, c. 192017, c. 19, s. 18.
19. The minister designated by the Government is responsible for the administration of this Act.
2017, c. 192017, c. 19, s. 19; 2019, c. 122019, c. 12, s. 30.
The Minister Responsible for Laicity and Parliamentary Reform is responsible for the application of this Act. Order in Council 921-2019 dated 4 September 2019, (2019) 151 G.O. 2 (French), 3976.
CHAPTER V
AMENDING PROVISIONS
2017, c. 19, c. V2017, c. 19, c. V.
Educational Childcare Act
20. (Amendment integrated into c. S-4.1.1, s. 90.1).
2017, c. 192017, c. 19, s. 20.
21. (Amendment integrated into c. S-4.1.1, s. 97).
2017, c. 192017, c. 19, s. 21.
CHAPTER VI
FINAL PROVISION
2017, c. 19, c. VI2017, c. 19, c. VI.
22. (Omitted).
2017, c. 192017, c. 19, s. 22.