School board confirms two teachers refused jobs due to Quebec's secularism law

National Assembly Crucifix

A Quebec school board says it refused to hire two teachers who wear religious symbols because they would not comply with the province's new secularism law.

The Commission scolaire de la Pointe-de-l'Ile said the two candidates indicated they would not remove their religious symbols on the job as the legislation requires.

Bill 21 prohibits some public sector workers, including teachers and police officers, from wearing religious symbols such as hijabs, turbans and kippas at work.

School boards across the province are complying, even as they grapple with a labour shortage that has left some children beginning the school year without a permanent teacher.

The board's position was welcomed by Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette, who is also the minister responsible for state secularism.

He told Radio-Canada the new law is very clear and it's up to employers to apply it to all those hired since the bill was tabled in March.