Ontario Parliament Passes Ontario Religious Freedom Day Act second reading

Published on November 30, 2021

Ontario Parliament Passes second reading
of Ontario Religious Freedom Day Act

to Remember, Reflect and Respect
victims of Religious Persecution around the world

QUEEN’S PARK - Today MPP Sheref Sabawy debated his second Private Member’s Bill in the Legislative Assembly, which seeks to Remember, Reflect and Respect the victims of Religious Persecution. The Ontario Religious Freedom Day Act 2021 sets to proclaim October 27th of each year as ‘Ontario Religious Freedom Day’. During that day, all Ontarians are encouraged to remember the countless victims of religious persecution, reflect on these atrocities and respect the victims who continue to face discrimination due to their beliefs.

“I am pleased to introduce this important legislation which serves as a reminder that Ontario continues to protect and advocate for religious freedom” said MPP Sabawy. “Canada has served as a beacon and safe haven for peoples fleeing religious persecution for many decades, enriching our multicultural, multi-faith and multi-ethnic society, especially here in Ontario”.

In 2019 for example, Canada once again came out as the world leader in the resettlement of refugees, ranking first among 26 countries. Canada provided 30,082 refugees with the opportunity to build a new life for themselves and their families, including through its private sponsorship program which accounted for 58 per cent over the past ten years. And our province has multiple programs to assist newcomers to Canada who are fleeing religious persecution.

Organisations like the U.N and nations like the United States have established International Days to honour the victims of religious persecution. October 27th has long been recognised as the International Religious Freedom Day by democratic societies all around the world, who come together to honour the victims of religious persecution and advocate for religious freedoms. Sadly, countless people continue to fear openly expressing their faith  around the world.

There is an increase in religion-based violence globally and Ontario must reaffirm its commitment to advocate for freedom of beliefs. The proposed legislation seeks to do just that by proclaiming October 27th as Ontario’s Religious Freedom Day.

QUICK FACTS:

  • The ‘Ontario Religious Freedom Day Act 2021’ seeks to proclaim October 27th of each year as Ontario Religious Freedom Day.
  • The ministry of Heritage, Sports, Tourism and Culture Industries shall consider constructing a memorial to honour the victims of religious persecution around the world.
  • If passed it will allow Ontarians to pay their respects to the victims of religious persecution and the monument would serve as a reminder of preventable atrocities.