Quebec Day-Care Lunch Menu Discriminates: Panel

CTV (Toronto), April 4, 2007

The ongoing debate in Quebec over accommodation of religious minorities has flared up again over a day-care lunch menu.

A day-care centre in the east end of Montreal is taking issue with a human rights commission ruling suggesting it not serve meat to a Muslim child, in accordance with Islamic dietary rules.

Lawyers for the publicly funded day care say staff were asked to remove pork from the lunchtime menu and serve the Muslim child only halal meatactions they won’t take.

But Quebec’s human rights commission says it never asked the day care to make such accommodations.

It says the parents simply wanted their child not to be served any meals with meat, as the day care does for another child who is allergic.

Commission spokesperson Robert Sylvestre said at the day care had already accommodated a similar demand for the family’s first child.

“We found ourselves in a situation where in the same day-care centre, at the same time, one child received this accommodation . . . and the second was not receiving the accommodation,” Sylvestre said.

The commission ruled in January that the day care’s refusal was discriminatory.

A lawyer for the day care called the Muslim family’s request abusive.

The case will now go before a human rights tribunal.

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