signup readlatest
Movement Laïque Québécois v. City of Saguenay
More Info

Case Summary

A municipal by-law allowed city council meetings in Saguenay to begin with a voluntary prayer for members who wished to participate. Alain Simoneau, a resident of Saguenay at the time, filed a complaint with a human rights tribunal in 2007 over the prayer and the presence of religious symbols, such as a crucifix, at city hall. Simoneau argued that these religious expressions violated his freedom of conscience and religion.

The Quebec human rights tribunal found in Simoneau’s favour and instructed the city of Saguenay to remove the religious symbols and not allow prayer before council meetings.

In the appeal of the tribunal decision, the Quebec Court of Appeal found that the practice of reciting the prayer was permissible and did not infringe on Simoneau’s freedom of conscience.

This case considers the meaning of religious freedom and whether religious expression in state activities violates the neutrality of the state and whether exposure to someone praying does or does not violate the religious freedom of the observer.  

Legal Submissions

  • Factum of the Intervener, The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, as submitted to the Supreme Court of Canada (August 25, 2014).
  • A webcast of the October 2014 hearing is also available at the Supreme Court website. The EFC's verbal intervention, which is much shorter than the written factum, runs from minute 192 to 204.

Media Releases


Court Decisions

Issue: Religious Freedom in Canada

Current Status
What You Can Do
EFC Resources
Legal Resource List

Printer-friendly version

Related Issues:

Religious Freedom Internationally

Current/Recent Court Cases:

TWU v. various provincial law societies

Loyola High School v. Attorney General of Quebec

Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission v. Whatcott

S.L. v. Commission scolaire des Chênes (Quebec Curriculum)

Legal Case Summaries by Issue


Copyright ©2016 The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. All rights reserved.