Background Information on the Office of Religion Freedom
“As part of our ongoing efforts to promote human rights, our government will create a new Office of Religious Freedom to help protect religious minorities and to promote the pluralism that is essential to the development of free and democratic societies.”
Speech from the Throne on June 3, 2011
On February 19, 2013, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the establishment of the Office of Religious Freedom, which will be dedicated to promoting freedom of religion or belief as a key Canadian foreign policy priority.
This initiative recognizes that, globally, vulnerable religious minorities are subject to increasing levels of persecution, violence and repression.
The creation of the Office is a milestone for Canada. Headed by Ambassador Bennett who will report to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, the Office is mandated to focus on defending religious minorities, monitoring religious freedom and speaking out against egregious violations of freedom of religion.
The Office has an annual budget of $5 million.
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