Quebec's separatist government dug in its heels Tuesday over the contentious issue of state secularism.
The minister in charge of the Parti Quebcois' secularism charter, Bernard Drainville, opened legislature hearings by repeating a commitment to bar public-sector employees from wearing conspicuous religious symbols.
He said if Bill 60 becomes law, any civil servant who refuses to respect it might be risking their job.
"They would be confirming that they place their religion above everything else, above the common interest, above the law," the minister told the hearing.
Drainville acknowledged that the ban could prove "agonizing" for some people but any changes would be made "humanely, and respectfully."
No one would be allowed to offer government services with their faces covered, a reference to the Islamic burka and niqab.
Quebec would also stop allowing employees to take paid leave for religious reasons.