Oosterhoff's bill on protecting religious freedom in Ontario passes at Queen's Park

sam oosterhoff bill

A bill, meant to protect religious freedom in Ontario, passed a second reading with all party support.

The Private Member's Bill, sponsored by Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff, was debated and unanimously passed at Queen's Park today.

Bill 89, Protecting Ontario's Religious Diversity Act, 2022, would amend the Ontario Human Rights Code to specify that every person in Ontario has a right to equal treatment without discrimination because of religious expression, enshrining religious expression as a prohibited grounds for discrimination.

"One of the very crucial and foundational rights that we have as Canadians and Ontarians is freedom of religion," said MPP Oosterhoff.

"Adding religious expression to the Ontario Human Rights Code as prohibited grounds for discrimination will provide a meaningful tool for those who have been targeted or discriminated against due to their religious expression in a wide variety of contexts."

According to Statistics Canada, in 2019, 68% of Canadians reported having a religious affiliation and over half said their religious or spiritual beliefs were somewhat or very important to how they live their lives.

Oosterhoff has been open about his Christian beliefs by saying he wants to make abortion 'unthinkable in our lifetime’.

He attends a Reformed Church in Niagara.