The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees political rights to all Canadian citizens and civil liberties for all people in Canada. Section 2 of the Canadian Charter lays out the fundamental freedoms for all people in Canada which includes the freedom of religion. In this paper, it will be shown that every person in Canada has the right to practice their freedom and religion and if they feel as if their riht is infringed they can challenge the issue in the courts.It will be shown that some of the challenges to freedom of religion can only be exerted to a reasonable limit. On the other hand, some of the challenges are valid and that policies and practices will be changed in order to accommodate the right to exercise the right to freely practice religion.
There can be limitiations to the freedom of religion if the request is made and is unreasonable, has safety issues, or is in the best interest of the public.Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms says the following: 2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: (a) freedom of conscience and religion; (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communications; (c) freedom of peacefully assembly; and freedom of association. The fundamental freedom of religion applies to all Canadians and it allows for citizens to “assemble and worship” without limitation or interference. This is how it is interpreted by Canadian law but it does not have limitations to a certain degree of the religious requests made are unreasonable.
Laws are rules can hold standing if it is determined that the yare in the best interest of the people. These reasons can include for upholding public safety and or for being in the best interest of the public. There are groups and organizations that have had standing traditions and policies set in place and there have been disputes and challenges made against these groups for breaching the right to practice religion within the organization. This can include policies on clothing, practice of prayer, dress and deportment, or symbolic items.One example of this would be in the case of Grant v. Canada.
In this case it was argues that wearing a Sikh turban as a part of the RCMP uniform does not violate the public’s Charter right to freedom of religion. When the Royal Canadian Mounted Police changed their traditional uniform policy to allow people of the Sikh religion to wear a turban instead of the otherwise mandated forage hat there were public complaints that this was interrupting the police figure by compelling others to practice the Sikh religion.It was then determined by the courts that by letting a police officer wear a turban as part of his or her unifrm it does not require the public to participate in the religious practice of the officer. In April of 1989 a bulletin was issued by Commissioner Inkster, to effect a change in the RCMP manual by changing the relative Standing Orders. These changes inflicted the following into the manual: (CanLII, 1995)1. General a.
Members who practice the Sikh religion may wear: 1. an RCMP-issue turban in place of the standard issue headdress provided it conceals the hair and is neat; 2. nder the uniform, a small Kirpan, the symbolic Sikh sword, or replica thereof, having a maximum overall length of 3 [cad034]; 3. a Kara, i. e. a symbolic Sikh iron braclet, and a Khanga, i.
e. a Sikh comb worn in the hair under the rurban; and 4. facial hair and other uncut hair provided the following criteria are complied with: 1. uncut hair will be concealed under the issue turban.
2. facial hair will be neatly secured and tied, and if necessary, a fine netting material the same color as the hair will be used to keep it neat. b. Apart from the exceptions outlined in 1. a.
, all other rules concerning dress and appearance will apply. A member of the Sikh religion may obtain the turban cloth and badge, by submitting form 1216 to Headquarters, ATTN: Material Management Branch. Canadians have always held pride and attachment to the traditions of the RCMP but these policy changes were a good thing for the RCMP because it only further promoted the pride of multiculturalism and diversity of the Canadian citizens through the federal police force (CanLII, 1994).In this case it is shown how policies can and will be overridden to be sure that the Charter right of freedom of religion is accommodated.
The decision did not infringe any safety regulations and the RCMP were agreeable in modifying traditional uniform in order to coordinate others for the best interest of the Canadian people. Private establishments and organizations often have their own set of rules and policies in place. Without intention or realization these policies sometimes infringe ones’ right to practice freedom of religion and can be brought in front of a court to be challenged.In the case of Amselem v. Syndicat Northerest there was an between the Jewish residents being allowed to put Succahs on their balconies of a jointly owned apartment building and the other partial owners of the building.
The Orthodox Jews said that this was breaching their right to freely practice their religion because each person needed an individual Succot to live in for 9 days during a specific Jewish holiday and the Northcrest crew would not allow them on their balconies.Northcrest argued that it went against the by-laws, that structures were not permitted to be built on the balconies and they stated that it downgraded the building value and the attractiveness of the property. In their case the Supreme Court of Canada looked at the perspective of both Syndicat Northcrest and the Jewish residents to determine whether the case made of violating the right to freedom was actually violated.The courts did determine that the rights of the Jewish residents had been broken and that the freedom of religion would prevail because even though it was policy signed in the contract of the building it did not have a significant impact on the Northcrest people (CanLII, 2002).
This shows that even in private establishments the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms still applies and people will not be discriminated against because of religion.With regards to private property people are allowed to make their own rules and policies but if it has an effect on people in or around the private establishment they must be reasonable and abide to the rights of the Charter. Some issues that are brought to the courts about violating a freedom of religion Charter right do not prevail to the benefit of the religious person or persons involved. Freedom of religion is a right that all Canadian citizens have but it cannot always be exercised because there are limitations that may stand for the reason of safety.The safety of citizens conquers the passage of a religious practice or worship. This is proven in the case of Bhinder v.
Canadian National Railway. In this secenario Bhinder, a Sikh man, worked for a company in which the company policy said that you needed to wear a hard hat to perform your duties. Bhinder refused to wear a hard hat because the Sikh religion didn’t allow for any other type of headgear besides the turban. The company, however, would not bend their rules and refused to let Bhinder continue to work without wearing a hard hat.
Bhinder came forward to allege that there was a breach of sections 7 and 10 of the Canadian Human Rights Act which read that: 7. It is a discriminatory practice, directly or indirectly, (a) to refuse to employ or continue to employ any individual, or (b) in the course of employment, to differentiate adversely in relation to an employee, on a prohibited ground of discrimination. 10. It is a discriminatory practice for an employer or an employee organization (a) to establish or pursue a policy or practice, or b) to enter into an agreement affecting recruitment, referral, hiring, promotion, training, apprenticeship, transfer or any other matter relating to employment or prospective employment, that deprives or tends to deprive an individual or class of individuals of any employment opportunities on a prohibited ground of discrimination.In this case, Bhinders’ argument did not prevail because the requirement to wear a hard hat in his position on the railway was a legitimate request for the safety of the Railways employees. It was said that “work is carried out under equipment, [which] necessitates that hard hats be worn to protect workers in the event that they straighten up under equipment or are hit from above by falling objects” (CanLII, 1981).
This case shows that the free practice of religion can be overridden in certain incidents under a reasonable basis. The health and well being of a person is another area in which rights held by religious freedom may not stand.Adults are allowed to make ecisions about their own health and medical choices but parents are also obligated to make those decisions for their children as well. This is a fuzzy area when it comes to religious freedom because it is unknown how far the limit should be allowed to protect the parents right to make religious based decisions applying to the health and medical choices of their children extend. The public interest and the protection of the children’s rights much take an account and can sometimes override a parental decision to refuse medical treatment on a child.In the case of B.
(R. ) v. Children’s Aid Society of Metropolitan Toronto the parents of a one-year old child who was extremely ill and needed a blood transfusion refused it because they were Jehovah’s Witnesses and this was against their religious practice. The Children’s Aid Society gained courtship authority to enable a blood transfusion and the parents challenged the order under the Charter. “The principal argument was that the wardship order violated the parents’ right to liberty under s.
7. However, the Supreme Court of Canada also addressed the argument that the order violated the parents’ religious freedom. Five judges held that the parents’ right under s. 2(a) had been breached, but that this breach was justified under s. 1.
Four judges found no breach of the Charter guarantee of freedom of religion. While all of the judges agreed that the wardship order was constitutional, their disagreement concerning the scope of s. 2(a) may reflect different views about the parent-child relationship and/or the nature of religious commitment” (Canadian Constitutional Law, 2003).In this case it was found that there was no breach of the Charter because it was in the public interest and in the best interest of the child to grant courtship to the Children’s Aid Society. This is another situation in which people argued for their right to freedom to religion and it did not prevail in court because there was a reasonable limit that stood against it.
It was not reasonable to deprive a baby from a life-saving procedure.The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has powers that protects the rights of citizens to freely practice and worship their religion without discrimination. If a person feels as if their Charter right is broken they can bring the issue to the courts where they will determine if it is a legitimate issue that holds and ground. It has been shown throughout this paper that all Canadians have the fundamental freedom to religion but it can hold limitations if the religious requests or inquiry’s are said to be unreasonable.This is shown in the case of B. (R.
) v. Children’s Aid Society of Metropolitan Toronto when it was said that the fundamental freedom to religion was not broken because it protected the life of a child and it was in the best interest of the public. It also showed this in the Bhinder case because the safety of the employees trumped the request for Bhinder to omit from wearing a hard hat. On the other hand it has been show that people can challenge the court and organizations or private establishments may have to change policy, procedure, or regulations in order to accommodate religious requests and not be discriminatory.In Grant v.
Canada the RCMP changed their policy on the uniform in order to accommodate a Sikh person who wishes to wear a turban instead of the mandated forage cap. Also, in the case of Amselem v. Syndicat Northcrest, Northcrest had to change their building regulation in order to accommodate the Orthodox Jews to build Succahs on their balconies during Succot. The Charter does protect the right to religious freedom but it is open to interpretation of different issues.