TORONTO ON February 20, 2013 – The Catholic Civil Rights League welcomes the establishment of Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom and hopes it will play a role in extending respect for religious and conscientious freedom throughout the world.

“We hope that the new Office for Religious Freedom may prove to be a beacon of Canada’s high regard for religious and conscientious freedom, and that it will prove to be a source of dialogue, mutual understanding, and peace,” said League President Phil Horgan, who attended the launch of the new office February 19 in Maple, Ontario on the League’s behalf. The League also attended the main planning event for the office in October 2011, and will continue to assist the Office as requested.

The League congratulates Dr. Andrew Bennett, head of the new office, on his appointment, and expresses our support for continued consultation on the important matters to be taken up by his new office.

First proposed during the 2011 election campaign, the office is designed not to promote any particular religion, but to promote religious diversity and religious tolerance around the world, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told the February 19 launch event.  

The League has done extensive work promoting religious freedom within Canada through supporting Catholics facing human rights tribunal filings for the public expression of traditional Catholic teaching, and of those seeking to exercise religious and conscientious objection in the workplace.  It has also participated in court interventions in support of religious freedom for parents and educational institutions.  

About CCRL
Catholic Civil Rights League ( assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization and has chapters across Canada. The Catholic Civil Rights League is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.

For further information:
Joanne McGarry, Executive Director, 416-466-8244;

A religious Canada, strong and free, Father Raymond De Souza, National Post, February 21, 2013