Marcovitz finally provided Bruker a get in 1995
when she was almost 47 years old.
At the core of the case was the question of
whether religious obligations should be
enforceable in Canada's courts.
The first judge who heard the case found that
the case was justiciable in civil courts, that
Marcovitz had breached his contractual
obligations and awarded Bruker $47,500. However,
the Quebec Court of Appeal overturned the
ruling, saying the obligation to grant Bruker a
get was a religious one and was not a matter for
Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Abella ruled
that "an agreement between spouses to take the
necessary steps to permit each other to remarry
in accordance with their own religions,
constitutes a valid and binding contractual
obligation under Quebec law."
Abella ruled any harm to the husband's
religious freedom in requiring him to pay
damages for unilaterally breaching his
commitment is significantly outweighed by the
harm caused by his unilateral decision not to
Abella said that the consequences for Bruker
of not being granted the get were much greater
than the impact on Marcovitz's freedom of
"Despite the moribund state of her marriage.
Ms. Bruker remained, between the ages of 31 and
46, Mr. Marcovitz's wife under Jewish law and
dramatically restricted in the options available
to her in her personal life. This represents an
unjustified and severe impairment of her ability
to live her life in accordance with this
country's values and her Jewish beliefs. Any
infringement of Mr. Marcovitz's freedom of
religion is inconsequential compared to the
disproportionate disadvantaging effect on Ms.
Bruker's ability to live her life fully as a
Jewish woman in Canada."
View the full decision
© The Gazette (Montreal) 2007