Freedom of religion under Bill of Rights

Religious Freedom in Canada

Religious freedom is a constitutionally guaranteed right in Canada. Free religious expression is more feasible for some groups than others, nevertheless.

Restrictions on Religious Freedom

The courts are to blame for the increase in the restrictive perspective of religious freedom protection that excludes religious minorities. The Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) and Freedom Protection rarely mention them (Government of Canada, 2017).

The Treatment of Religious Minorities

Constitutionally speaking, grouping rights and structural disadvantage can be corrected, but minority claims are treated as treaty rights, which pushes concerns involving freedom of religion to the margins (Beaman, 2012). The legal construction of their spirituality continues where the first nations are treated like the strange group and can be hardly tolerated by the benevolent majority.

Duty to Accommodate and Undue Hardship

The reason for limiting the duty to accommodate which is included in the CHRA is the concept of undue hardship which should be provided under reasonable accommodation to qualify the claims (Waldron, 2013). It requires a balance between the holders of the duty to accommodate and the rights of the religious sects. Also, it is important as it provides essential reasons that the rights of all religious groups are justifiable only when the police express the need for accommodation (Babie & Rochow, 2012).

Limitations on Reasonable Accommodation

The reasonable accommodation in context to religion is limited as all the rights are not viewed as absolutes. It is then agreed by the courts if the religious groups issuing the claims should be accommodated or rather sacrifice the ethical principles (Beaman, 2012). The importance of the freedom of individuals and their impact on the status of the groups was evidenced when the Supreme Court granted a decision about the role and place to religious liberty in the case of Amselem.


Babie, P., & Rochow, N. (2012). Freedom of religion under Bill of Rights. Adelaide , AU: University of Adelaide Press.

Beaman, L. (2012). Reasonable accommodation: Managing religious diversity. Vancouver, BC: UBC Press.

Beaman, L. (2012). Religion and Canadian society: Contexts, identities, and strategies. Toronto, ON: Canadian Scholars’ Press.

Government of Canada. (2017). How your rights are protected. Retrieved from

Waldron, M.A. (2013). Free to believe: Rethinking freedom of conscience and religion in Canada. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.

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