The Liberal government is extending the deadline for applications for the Canada Summer Jobs program by one week, but will not remove a controversial clause requiring applicants to sign an attestation on abortion and LGBT rights.
To be eligible to receive this grant, employers are required to attest that both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect certain “values” as determined by the federal government.
Specifically, the guidelines mention “individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.”
Thousands of churches, mosques and organizations across Canada are religious charities which operate legally under provincial human rights codes. In carrying out their work, they benefit the communities in which they are located and our nation as a whole. Such charities foster vibrant social networks, spark volunteerism, and foster community resiliency, providing a religious rationale for activities like poverty alleviation and caring for those who are vulnerable. Although these positive ends are experienced by many in the community regardless of faith, they are offered out of a religious context, with a religious rationale.
However, this policy change would mean that to be eligible for the grant, organizations will have to attest that their core mandate affirms the government’s view on a list of issues, including the government’s position on abortion, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Organizations unable or unwilling to make this attestation in whole or in part will be deemed ineligible for the grant.
According to the guidelines, religious organizations can apply for the grant. However, if they cannot agree with the government’s position, they will not be eligible.
This is a dangerous precedent. Will there be a values test to be eligible for the charitable donation deduction? And after that?
Holding a legitimate alternate view on abortion or any other acceptable ethical position contrary to the government's position should be permitted and protected within a democracy.
Harold Albrecht, MP (Kitchener-Conestoga) forwarded the following petition and is asking for your support. It calls on the Government of Canada to remove the unfair requirement to sign their values test in order to apply for funding under the Canada Summer Jobs Program.
Please sign and forward the petition to others.
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