Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Rethinking Canadian Discourses of “Reasonable Accommodation”

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Abstract:  This article maps the repercussions of the use of reasonable accommodation, a recent framework referenced inside and outside Canadian courtrooms to respond to religiously framed differences. Drawing on three cases from Ontario and Quebec, we trace how the notion of reasonable accommodation—now invoked by the media and in public discourse—has moved beyond its initial legal moorings. After outlining the cases, we critique the framework with attention to its tendency to create theological arbitrators who assess reasonableness, and for how it rigidifies ‘our values’ in hierarchical ways. We propose an alternative model that focuses on navigation and negotiation and that emphasizes belonging, inclusion and lived religion.

Keywords:  Canada; lived religion; media; navigation; negotiation; reasonable accommodation



© Amélie Barras, Jennifer A. Selby, Lori G. Beaman. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.