The Canadian Association of Professional Academic Librarians / l’Association canadienne des bibliothécaires académiques professionnels (CAPAL/ACBAP) is committed to the values enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and asserts that the freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, and freedom of movement are fundamental values that must be upheld in a free and democratic society. We actively support freedom of inquiry and freedom of expression, including the basic freedom of being who we are. As professionals in higher education, we seek to foster diversity and equity by eradicating discriminatory barriers to education and to embrace and respect different cultures, views and beliefs. We are committed to making our libraries welcoming spaces for all.
As such, the members of CAPAL/ACBAP are greatly concerned about the impact Quebec’s recently-enacted Bill-62: An Act to foster adherence to State religious neutrality will have on library workers in publicly-funded university and college libraries and their patrons, especially Muslim women.
Access to information is a human right. It is the means by which people can fully exercise their basic rights. Our daily practice as librarians is guided by professional values and codes of ethics that reject censorship and embody principles of social justice, such as privacy of the individual, equity, and the right of all individuals to access information in order to better themselves and to participate fully in society and the economy.
This law will put all of Quebec’s library workers in publicly-funded university and colleges in the highly-compromised position of having to implement, adjudicate and enforce laws that contravene the Charter principles and their own professional codes of practice.
Legislation such as Bill 62 that mandates the scrutiny of individuals and inhibits access to information contravenes the foundational principles of librarianship and is a threat to librarians’ professional autonomy.
For these reasons we unreservedly object to the passage of Bill C-62 and urge the government of Quebec to rescind this law immediately.
Submitted by the CAPAL/ACBAP Advocacy Committee and endorsed by the CAPAL Board of Directors
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