Queen's University

Keep faith dates in mind when planning ahead


With the growth in diversity of faith practices among students, faculty and staff at Queen’s, it is important to consider faith dates when scheduling meetings, events and course requirements.

“The Ontario Human Rights Code and Queen’s policies require us to accommodate faith requirements in the workplace and in the classroom,” says Queen’s Chaplain Brian Yealland.

Accommodating faith requirements can be accomplished proactively by not scheduling meetings, events or tests on important holy days, or when scheduling conflicts are unavoidable, by working in good faith with staff and students to provide appropriate accommodation on request.

Several faith dates take place over the next few months and should be kept in mind.

For the Jewish community, Rosh Hashanah begins the eve of September 28. Most observant Jews will be absent from work and school on September 29 and 30. Also, Judaism’s holiest day, Yom Kippur, begins the eve of October 7 and most observant Jews will be absent from work and the classroom on October 8. Some observant Jews (Reform and Orthodox Jews) will request accommodation for the Eve of Sukkot (October 12) and the first day (or first two days) of Sukkot (October 13 and 14).

In addition, observant members of the Baha’i, Sikh, Wiccan, Buddhist and Muslim communities may require religious accommodation for the following observances/holy days:

• Baha’i faith: the Birth of the Báb (October 20) and Birth of Bahá’u’lláh (November 12).
• Sikhism: Installation of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji (October 20), Bandi Chhor Divas (October 26), Birthday of Guru Nanak Dev Ji (November 10) and Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji (Nov. 24) []
• Wicca: Samhain (October 30) and Yule (December 22).
• Buddhism: Kathina (November 6).
• Islam : Īd al-Aḍḥá (Nov 6).

Please note that four of these key holy days, Yom Kippur, Birth of Bahá’u’lláh, Kathina and Īd al-Aḍḥá, fall on weekends and will not likely cause many scheduling difficulties. Similarly, as the university is closed on December 25, members of the Christian community will not need to be accommodated on that day.

Some steps to take when planning ahead:

Consult a multi-faith/cultural calendar

When preparing fall schedules, faculty, staff and students are encouraged to refer to the listings of holy days on the Office of the University Chaplain's website, or on the Queen’s Multifaith Calendar, or the Queen’s Events Calendar: Faith Dates. Avoid scheduling meetings, classes and events on these days if possible, or be prepared to accommodate persons who need to be absent because of religious requirements.

Contact the office

Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to consult with the Chaplain's office for guidance should they have questions about addressing requests for faith accommodation. While extensive, the multi-faith/cultural calendar listings are not exhaustive. Individuals and groups may celebrate holy days that do not appear on the calendar or may find it necessary to observe a particular festival on a different day than the one listed on the calendar (e.g. on the nearest weekend). Conversely, not all days listed in the calendar will require accommodation in the form of absence from the workplace or classroom.

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Last updated at 1:55 pm EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
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