Think only Muslim women wearing a burka or niqab will be affected by Bill 62, the Quebec government’s newly enacted ban on face-covering pieces of clothing? 

Think again. 

Bill 62, which forces anyone receiving public services or taking a ride on public transit to remove any piece of face-covering clothing, extends beyond religious attire. 

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If you’re on a STM bus and happen to be wearing a hood, bandana, or even large sunglasses, you’re going against the law. 

So says Quebec justice minister Stéphanie Vallée, who clarified some aspects of Bill 62 yesterday. 

Vallée said that face-veils, hoods, bandanas, and sunglasses, all of which cover the face, are banned based on the security, communication, and identification risks they pose, reports JDM

Taking public transit means you have to have an uncovered face, for the entire trip, Vallée reiterated. 

What about balaclavas in the winter? Or scarves? It gets cold in Quebec, and it seems a bit unreasonable to be forcing citizens to take off their protective winter-wear as soon as they get on a bus. 

Unfortunately, when it comes to specifics, the Quebec government is refusing to provide any answers. No real guidelines have been set up for public sector employees, a source of anger and frustration for some. 

But will sunglasses and hoods be held to the same strict rules as burkas or niqabs? Will a white man wearing large, face-covering sunglasses be asked to remove them when stepping on a bus, the same as a woman wearing a face-veil likely will? 

Possibly, but who knows at this point. The circumstances call for an experiment which could reveal the implicit biases of Bill 62’s face-veil ban, which seems to be more about religion than security.

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