Approval would make Ontario the only Western jurisdiction to adopt a form of sharia arbitration.
The demonstration outside the Ontario legislature was the focal point for several protests across Canada.
Sharia-based laws would be similar to faith-based tribunals already permitted by the Canadian province for Catholics and Jews to use the principles of their faiths to settle family disputes.
The government insists that the process would only have its roots in sharia and that the equal rights of women would continue to be protected under Canadian law.
I've argued against the expansion of religious personal law in the past, citing India as a place where it has produced many problems. But it's hard to take a strong position against it here when it's already in place for Catholics and Jews.
Still, there is this to consider:
One of the major challenges for the Ontario government is that sharia law is subject to a great deal of interpretation.
There are virtually no existing formal standards in appointing someone to interpret Islamic law.
Perhaps the argument against Sharia courts in Canada might be made on the grounds that there is simply too much disagreement over what Sharia actually is (and no definitive authority figure to authorize it).
I hope Sikhs and Hindus in Canada aren't thinking of trying to do this.