Canadians Shun Reasonable Accommodation

Canadians Shun Reasonable Accommodation

June 18, 2008
(Angus Reid Global Monitor)

Adults in Canada are not particularly enthused by the concept of reasonable accommodation, according to a poll by Angus Reid Strategies. 54 per cent of respondents believe laws and norms should not be modified to accommodate minorities, while 36 per cent think that, on some occasions, it makes sense to modify specific laws and norms to accommodate minorities.

Multiculturalism was adopted as an official government policy in 1971, and ratified under the Canadian Multiculturalism Act of 1988. One of every six residents of Canada was born outside the country.

Last month, a commissionheaded by sociologist Gerard Bouchard and philosopher Charles Taylorissued its final report on the way minorities are adjusting to life in Quebec, Canadas largest province. The report issued 40 different recommendations, including better representation of ethnic minorities in the public sphere, encouraging employers to adopt policies surrounding religious holidays, and prohibiting judges and police officers from wearing religious symbols.

Bouchard and Taylor were appointed by Quebec premier Jean Charest in March 2007. On May 22, Charest dismissed their recommendation to remove a crucifix from Quebecs National Assembly, saying, “We cannot erase our history. The crucifix is about 350 years of history in Quebec that none of us are ever going to erase, and of a very strong presence, in particular of the Catholic Church. And thats our reality. And those who come to Quebec are joining a society where that history is now something that is part of our story.”

Polling Data

Over the past few months, there have been many discussions across Canada about the concept of “Reasonable Accommodation”, which entails modifying specific laws and norms when they could affect minorities. Which of these statements comes closest to your own point of view?

Laws and norms should not be modified to accommodate minorities


On some occasions, it makes sense to modify specific laws and norms to accommodate minorities


Not sure


Source: Angus Reid Strategies
Methodology: Online interviews with 1,006 Canadian adults, conducted from May 29 to May 30, 2008. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.