• Section 14 protects:
    • the right to hold certain thoughts, positions of conscience and religious and other beliefs;
    • the right not to have religious or other beliefs;
    • the right to change religious and other beliefs; and
    • the right to demonstrate one’s religion or belief, whether individually or collectively, whether in private or public or whether through worship, observance, practice and teaching.
  • This section has a broad scope. ‘Thought’ includes political, philosophical and social thought. ‘Conscience’ refers to beliefs with some philosophical basis.
    • The expressions ‘religion’ and ‘belief’ should be interpreted broadly to include theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs.
    • A public authority may be obliged in some circumstances to intervene to protect these rights. Examples of when this may be required are discussed above.
    • The right to demonstrate one’s religion or belief relates only to religion and belief and does not extend to thoughts or conscience. It means that a public authority must not prevent a person from demonstrating his or her religion or belief either alone or with others, either in private or in public.
    • The scope of the right to demonstrate one’s religion or belief is broad. It applies to a range of acts including observance, worship, practice and teaching. These terms are not defined in the Charter although guidance is provided above on what they mean in the international sphere.
    • The rights protected by s. 14 may be limited in accordance with s. 7. However, note that in international human rights law, limitations have only been permitted in respect of the right to demonstrate one’s religion and belief. It may be more difficult than usual to justify a limitation on the other rights protected in s. 14.
    • You may be required to balance the right in s. 14 with that in s. 15 (freedom of expression) since the effect of a particular method of opposing or denying religious beliefs through speech may violate the right protected in s. 14.