I am informed by the Treasury Board Secretariat and the Department of National Defence as follows:
In response to (a), the government has not issued directives or other policy guidelines with regard to the use of prayers at government organized events.
However, under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, employees of different faiths have the right to freedom of religion.
In response to (b), neither the Department of National Defence nor the Canadian forces have directed military chaplains to refrain from using the terms “God,” “Jesus,” “Christian” or any other expression for the deity. The policy on public prayer services for the Canadian Forces Chaplain Branch was approved by the Interfaith Committee on Canadian Military Chaplaincy, and follows the guidelines of the Canadian Council of Churches on “Religious Ceremonies Involving More than One Faith Tradition”. The Policy is:
“Within the context of voluntary worship, either within a chapel or a field service or on board ship, chaplains are free to lead Christian worship according to their denominational tradition within the established practice of CF Roman Catholic or Protestant Chapels. Likewise in the context of ecumenical or interfaith worship where a number of religious leaders are participating, chaplains may conduct themselves in accordance with their denominational tradition.
Within the context of a public ceremony where the chaplain is the sole representative of all faith groups and where various faith groups and a wide range of beliefs are likely to exist, normally prayers should be inclusive in nature respecting the wide range of faith groups and believers who may be present. The religious celebrant is encouraged to be sensitive in the use of specific sacred faith formulas to allow for greater inclusivity.”
The policy encourages chaplains of the Canadian forces to respect the wide range of faith groups present at public services and be inclusive in the common expression of prayer. Nowhere does it admonish its chaplains to refrain from using expressions of prayer.
In response to (c) this is not applicable.