As an elementary school teacher in Montreal, Maha Kassef should be in high demand: the city is in the midst of a teacher shortage, resulting in overflowing classrooms and classes without teachers.
Yet because she wears a hijab, Kassef, 35, might soon be out of a job. The incoming provincial government, led by the nationalist Coalition Avenir Québec party, has announced plans to outlaw the wearing of religious symbols by any public employees – including teachers.
The new government, which will officially be sworn in 18 October after a historic election victory this month, argues that "secularism law" is necessary to preserve Quebec's culture and historic church-state divide.
The proposed law will have a transition period, during which the affected can move to "non-authority" positions.