TORONTO (JTA) – Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital warned that complyingÂ with Quebec’s so-called Charter of Values means it will beÂ forbidden from serving kosher food.
In a 37-page brief presented at public hearings into theÂ controversial legislation, which includes a ban on the wearing ofÂ religious headgear by public-sector employees, the hospital said itÂ would be prohibited from serving kosher food to a “significant number ofÂ observant Jewish patients,” the Montreal Gazette reported.
The hospital announced several months ago that it would defy the charter, knownÂ as Bill 60, if passed in its current form.
The brief outlines new arguments against the bill, including concerns that it would infringe on religious dietaryÂ requirements and lead to a deterioration in labor relations, according to theÂ Gazette.
“Since the bill contradicts the JGH’s own values, the hospital couldÂ not in good conscience implement a policy to bring its mission andÂ characteristics in line with the requirements of the proposedÂ legislation,”Â the executive summary of the brief said.
“Nor would the JGH take advantage of any article (in Bill 60) thatÂ would exempt the hospital from applying the bill’s provisions in theÂ short term or indefinitely. Rather, the JGH, in partnership with otherÂ like-minded institutions, would launch a legal challenge againstÂ implementing the bill.”
Although Bill 60 does allude to “dietary matters” stemming from aÂ ”religious precept” in public day care centers, it does not specificallyÂ discuss religious dietary accommodations in the health-care sector.
Nonetheless, the hospital said Bill 60 would “eliminate [the]Â much-needed and time-honored” kosher kitchen.