VANCOUVER — A group of British Columbia prisoners is suing the federal government over its decision to cancel contracts for part-time chaplains, saying Ottawa has nearly eliminated minority faith ministries in federal institutions.
The lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court claims there were only two non-Christian chaplains in all of Canada as of the beginning of March, and none in B.C.
“Prisoners do not lose their right to freely express their religious and spiritual beliefs by virtue of their incarceration …,” says the lawsuit filed March 14 in Vancouver.
At least one former chaplain has been refused entry to a correctional facility in the province since the federal government announced last October that it would not be renewing contracts for part-time chaplains, the court document says.
The decision came shortly after the Correctional Service of Canada said it wouldn’t be hiring a Wiccan to minister in its B.C. prisons.
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