Protests Planned As New Quebec Law Limits Face Coverings

Oct 19, 2017

A new Quebec law, passed by the province's National Assembly on Wednesday, essentially forces Muslim women and others to uncover their faces in order to receive public services or to work in the public sector.

While the law does not explicitly single them out, it will particularly impact Muslim women who wear face coverings such as a burka or niqab. The ban on such coverings extends to public buses, libraries and hospitals, according to CBC Montreal reporter Ben Shingler.

"Supporters of this bill, the Liberal government here in Quebec, say they aim to address this issue of making sure that the state is neutral when it comes to religion," Shingler says.

However, Muslim groups and civil rights advocates have denounced the measure, Shingler says. 

The law has already created confusion, as it took effect immediately, but guidelines for enforcement aren't expected until next year.

CBC reporter Ben Shingler spoke with VPR's Henry Epp. Listen to their conversation above.