What is it like to be a Muslim Woman in Quebec?

Ameliorating the Impact of Bill 21 on Quebec Muslim Women in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic 

(French Page)

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) is conducting a study to understand the impact of Bill 21 and COVID-19 on Quebec Muslim women. 

On June 16, 2019, Bill 21, “An Act respecting the laicity of the State,” was passed in Quebec. This discriminatory legislation prohibits those who wear religious symbols such as the hijab, kippah or turban from being employed in several public sector jobs.  

NCCM, alongside the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and plaintiff Ichrak Nurel Hak, an aspiring teacher in Quebec, filed a legal challenge claiming that this law legalized discrimination against religious minorities, and has a particularly acute impact on women who wore the hijab. While the broader impact of Bill 21 remains to be determined, the Bill’s greatest impact noted thus far has been on Muslim women who are pursuing careers in teaching.  

This career derailment for Muslim women was followed by the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has precipitated an increase in unemployment with a 10% loss in jobs in the province. As reported by the Institut de la statistique du Québec, the hardest hit demographics are women and youth in Quebec with a near 25% drop in employment.  

The compounding impact of Bill 21 and the COVID-19 pandemic on Quebec Muslim women occurs in a context where discrimination against Muslim women was already prevalent. Survey data shows that 51% of Muslim women in Canada report experiencing discrimination at work. This is further exacerbated when factoring in the intersection of race, gender, and religion as 61% of Black Muslim women report experiencing discrimination at work. In addition, the majority of Quebec Muslim women are francophone and therefore belong to an official language minority group if they were to seek employment out of province.  

This project seeks to ameliorate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, compounded by newly implemented discriminatory legislation, on the employment prospects of an already precarious group: Quebec Muslim women. 

This project is supported by the Ministry of Women and Gender and Equality, Government of Canada


We are looking for Muslim women (age 18+) who live in Quebec to complete a 10-15 minute survey. Survey participants will be eligible to receive a $25 gift card.

Sign up for the study today at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe0ao7dO5Fw4kUzkUGBVA-eaGVDx51WmO6J9zCmYs_8fJgDjg/viewform  


Lead Researchers:

Dr. Nadia Z. Hasan, Assistant Professor, Gender and Islamophobia, School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at York University.   

Nadia’s research and activism focus on systemic racism and Islamophobia in legal, administrative, and discursive regimes and their relation to transnational Muslim life. She previously served as the Chief Operating Officer of the National Council of Canadian Muslims where she led major public advocacy campaigns against Islamophobia in Canada. She leads innovative research initiatives on Islamophobia in partnership with academic institutions and community organizations. She is a published author of several studies related to Muslim women and systemic Islamophobia. Read more at https://profiles.laps.yorku.ca/profiles/nzh/




Lina El-Bakir (JD), Quebec Advocacy Officer, National Council of Canadian Muslims 

Lina is an experienced community advocate and researcher who has been engaged in anti-Islamophobia and social justice organizing in Quebec for years. Lina served as President of the student chapter of Lawyers Without Borders Canada at the University of Ottawa. She was part of the research team of a major study on the integration of newcomers in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. She has experience analyzing governance structures and policy discourses shaping migration and resilience and has worked in legal settings handling refugee claims. Before joining NCCM, Lina was a Junior Analyst at the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages where she monitored the immigration component of the Federal Action Plan for Official Languages.



Research Assistants:

Youmna Badawy is a Research Assistant working on the impacts of Law 21.

Additionally, she teaches computer science at the cegep level. She has extensive experience in research, data analysis and data visualization. Youmna holds a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal and has over two years experience in the medical tech industry.

In her free time, Youmna is a fitness coach for women, she enjoys self-development, Islamic lectures and psychology books and podcasts. She is also an active volunteer, dedicated to empowering her community.



Amine Boulajoul is a third-year law student at the University of Montreal, with a strong commitment to advocating for human rights and an active community involvement. His diverse experiences have led him to engage with NCCM to fight for the interests of those who don’t always get the chance to be heard. Through his dedication, he hopes to contribute to a promising future focused on a better and equitable world. 






Community Outreach Specialist:

Yasser Lahlou serves as the Community Engagement Officer for the National Council of Canadian Muslims in Quebec. Raised in the Greater Montreal, Yasser’s commitment to his local community began during his formative years and has since evolved into a lifelong dedication. 

Yasser’s journey led him to the Muslim Student Association (MSA) at the University of Montreal, where he spearheaded multiple educational initiatives designed to foster intellectual and spiritual growth among Muslim students on campus. 

Armed with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resources and Business IT from HEC Montreal, Yasser honed his skills and expertise in the financial services sector before embarking on his role at NCCM. His professional experience has equipped him with invaluable interpersonal and communication skills that he now employs in his work for the betterment of Canadian Muslim communities.



Advisory Committee: 

Dr. Natasha Bakht, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa 

Dr. Amelie Barras, Associate Professor, Socio-legal Studies, York University 

Zeinab Diab, PhD Candidate, Institut d’études religieuses, Université de Montréal