Human Rights Advisory Services

Human Rights Advisory Services
Human Rights Advisory Services


Queen's University students, staff and faculty represent many faith groups including Christians, Muslims, Jews, Bahá'ís, Seventh Day Adventists, Sikhs, Buddhists, Shintos, Hindus, Wiccans and followers of Aboriginal Spirituality. There are also many agnostics and atheists who work, study and live at Queen's.  All of these individuals have the right to study, work and live without harassment or discrimination on the basis of creed (or lack thereof).

A wide diversity of faith groups is represented among Queen's University students, staff and faculty. Many community members are also agnostics and atheists.  Everyone has right to study, work and live at Queen's without harassment or discrimination on the basis of creed or because they do not subscribe to certain religious beliefs.

What is creed?

The Ontario Human Rights Commission, the body that provides guidance on the interpretation of the Ontario Human Rights Code, defines "creed" as "a professed system and confession of faith, including both beliefs and observances or worship"

What does creed include?

Creed includes faith systems that are deistic (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, etc..) and non-deistic (Aboriginal spirituality, Buddhism, etc...). It may include religious tenets of organized faith groups and subjective religious beliefs and observances held sincerely by individuals.

What does creed not include?

The definition of creed does not include belief systems that are secular, political, ethical or moral.

What is religious accommodation?

Religious accommodation is a positive action taken by the university to allow individuals to practice their faith when observances/religious requirements conflict with work, study, residence life, etc...

What are some examples of religious requirements?

  • Dress codes
  • Restrictions regarding certain activities
  • Times/Places of worships
  • Restrictions regarding times of work

What kinds of job/course requirements may conflict with religious requirements?

  • Dress codes
  • Break policies
  • Rigid Scheduling
  • Holiday policy
  • Rigid participation rules

What is accommodation?

At Queen's, every faculty member, staff member and student has the right to observe their religious practices and ceremonies without fear of discrimination or harassment.  When there is a conflict between a religious requirement and a work/academic requirement, the University is required to provide accommodation to the point of undue hardship. More information about Accommodation...

Discrimination and harassment on the basis of creed

Discrimination on the basis of religion is being treated unfairly because of religious beliefs; religious harassment is being subjected to a course of vexatious conduct or comment based on religion that is known, or ought to be known to be unwelcome.

What religious discrimination might look like at Queen's

  • Not hiring a qualified Muslim candidate in order to avoid having to accommodate his faith-based requirement to pray several times a day, which would disrupt your unit's complex and tightly-knit schedule 
  • Refusing to alter a rigid shift schedule in order to allow employees who are Jewish or Seventh Day Adventists to celebrate their Sabbath
  • Requiring an employee to remove symbols and clothing that they are required to wear by faith in order to conform to the workplace uniform
  • Refusing to move an exam scheduled on a faith day for which abstention from work/study is required

What religious harassment might look like at Queen's

  • Using derogatory terms to designate members of a religious group
  • Using idiomatic phrases which negatively stereotype members of a religious group  
  • Mocking the rituals of religious groups
  • Telling jokes about faith groups
  • Scornfully referring to request for religious accommodation as a way to get time off work
  • Presuming non-adherents to belong to a certain faith group

Contact Us

If you would like to ask questions or discuss a concern about any issue relating to creed, please contact the Queen's Human Rights Office at:
Phone:  613-533-6886

Other Campus Resources

Related Resources

Consult the Ontario Human Rights Commission's Policy and Guidelines on Creed and Religious Accommodation on the OHRC's website