Court Considers Limits of Public Prayer
The Supreme Court of Canada recently released its decision in the Saguenay case. The EFC intervened in the case which asks whether there is a place for religious observance in state-sponsored events and gatherings. The EFC’s responses are at theEFC.ca/Saguenay, including a new link to a recent interview on the decision with EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger.
Doctors Losing Freedom of Conscience?
The EFC wrote to the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Saskatchewan regarding its Draft Policy on Conscientious Refusal. The EFC expressed concern over the proposed requirement that doctors provide referrals, and in some situations undertake procedures, that might violate their conscience and/or religious beliefs. Compelling doctors to act against their conscience would be a violation of their Charter rights and freedoms, argues the EFC. Doctors who don’t offer certain procedures are not discriminating as long as all patients are treated the same.
The EFC previously wrote a letter about a similar draft policy in Ontario. However, the Council of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) approved its new Professional Obligations and Human Rights policy on March 6. It “requires physicians to provide their patients with an effective referral to another health-care provider for those services the physician chooses not to provide for reasons of conscience or religion.”
Responding to Sex Education Changes in Ontario
Ontario released its new Physical Education curriculum this spring, which outlines a new sexual education component for the province’s public and Catholic schools. The EFC has now published a webpage of advice, sample letters and other resources on this issue at theEFC.ca/OntarioPE2015.
Lawyer Comments on Assisted-Death Decision
The EFC published a commentary by Geoffrey Trotter, the lawyer who represented the EFC in Carter euthanasia case. In “The Court Has Allowed Physician-assisted Death – What Next?” he examines two critical undercurrents which drove the Supreme Court of Canada’s Feb. 6 decision. He also considers the question of Parliament’s response. Link to the full commentary at theEFC.ca/carter.
Responding to Assisted-Death Decision
The Supreme Court’s decision on February 6 in the Carter case takes us into a Canada where the sanctity of human life is no longer fully supported in our laws, says EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger. Instead, our society and our law will affirm some cases of assisted suicide and euthanasia. He reflects on these issues in a commentary posted today at theEFC.ca/Carter. That webpage also includes links to a new EFC letter to the Minister of Justice urging the government to respond quickly to the decision, and links to Clemenger’s recent TV appearances responding to the court decision.
Nova Scotia Court Decision on TWU: “Great Day for Religious Freedom”
A Nova Scotia court made a very positive decision about the proposed Trinity Western University school of law. The decision agrees with several arguments the EFC put forward in its legal intervention. Read brief responses from EFC lawyer Albertos Polizogopoulos and EFC President Bruce Clemenger at theEFC.ca/TWUlaw. TWU is an EFC affiliate.
Will Ontario Enforce Prostitution Law?
EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger wrote a letter in December 2014 to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne in response to comments reported in the media suggesting the Government of Ontario might not enforce Canada’s new prostitution laws over concerns about their constitutionality. Defend Dignity, an EFC affiliate, is encouraging Canadians to write our own letters to government on the issue.
Religious Persecution Affects Children
The EFC Religious Liberty Commission released a report detailing the nature and effects of religious persecution on children. This report is part of the EFC’s continuing focus on public policy issues that impact children, whose presence and vulnerability often go unnoticed. Entitled The Overlooked Demographic: A Report on the Impact of Religious Persecution on Children, the 23-page document briefly considers various ways in which children are uniquely affected by religious discrimination and persecution.
Has Your Faith Group Faced Challenges From Your Municipal Government?
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s (EFC) Centre for Faith and Public Life has released Zoned Out: Religious Freedom in the Municipality, an introductory guide to understanding the religious freedoms of faith groups and the engagement process when they face municipal zoning challenges. You can download the report here.
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