Ontario court decision on Christian Horizons case

Thursday, June 10 2010

The Divisional Court of Ontario released its decision regarding the Christian Horizons case on May 14, 2010. Many Bishops have been following this particular case, in which the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario had also intervened. It addresses the broad issue of religious organizations maintaining their religious identity while serving the public, as well as the particular issue of when religious organizations can require employees to comply with a Lifestyle Statement, when this contains qualifications that society considers discriminatory.

The Ontario law firm Carters has issued an analysis of the Court’s decision. According to their analysis, the decision: 1)  recognizes that religious organizations can maintain their identity while serving the public; 2) also recognizes that social service is an expression of faith; 3) presents several problematic aspects, such as the way the bona fide occupation qualification test was applied and the vagueness of what constitutes a “poisoned work environment”.

The complete text of Carters’ analysis can be accessed at http://www.carters.ca/pub/bulletin/church/2010/chchlb29.pdf