Canadian Court Refuses to Add Jewish Holidays to Government Calendar
Jewish holy days need not be added to the Canadian government's holiday calendar, Canada's Federal Court of Appeals ruled on March 26. Sixteen Jewish Canadian public servants had asked that Judaism's holiest days, Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), be made paid days off. The Christian holy days of Christmas and Good Friday are already recognized as paid holidays by the Canadian government. The Jewish employees argued that the present system favors Christianity over Canada's other religions.
Two of the appeal court judges said that the government had taken reasonable steps to accommodate the Jewish employees. According to Ecumenical News International, though, Justice Joseph Robertson noted that public servants are allowed to take time off with pay for medical appointments, bad weather, a missing babysitter, and a burglary at home. "Surely the spiritual needs of an employee are as compelling as those of the secular kind," he said.
©1997 Heather Elizabeth Peterson