Quebec Premier Jean Charest and his cabinet have introduced sweeping legislation that effectively bars Muslim women from receiving or delivering public services while wearing a niqab.
According to the draft law, they would not be able to consult a doctor in a hospital, for example, or even attend classes in a university.
"Two words: Uncovered face," Charest told reporters during a press conference in Quebec City.
Critics of the niqab say they subjugate women and their right to equality.
After a woman was removed this month from a French-language class for refusing to remove her niqab, Christine St-Pierre, Quebec's minister responsible for the status of women, called niqabs "ambulatory prisons."
On Wednesday, St-Pierre said Quebec was a "world leader" when it comes to gender equality, and with Bill 94, "we prove it once again."
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