The deadline for the Canada Summer Jobs grant applications has passed for 2018, but many Canadians remain concerned about the troubling precedent that is being set. Many Evangelicals are also concerned about the impact on the vulnerable communities they serve.
The EFC is considering all possible options to respond to the problematic attestation introduced in the 2018 application, including a legal challenge, if necessary. We are also looking ahead to the 2019 CSJ program next year.
Your contact with your MP makes a difference. Many MPs have heard from churches, organizations and individuals in their ridings over the last months. Due to this response, the government issued Supplementary Information to define its terms more narrowly and specifically. Yet it did not make any changes to the wording of the attestation itself, and applicants were still required to check it off without any changes or additions.
If we hope to see this policy changed, it is important that we continue to communicate our concerns to local MPs and tell the stories of how this change impacts our churches, organizations and communities.
Here are three ways you can engage:
- Write (another) letter to your local MP. Ask specifically what steps your MP will take to protect freedom of conscience and freedom of expression, and to make sure this policy is changed for next year. The EFC has a sample email you can use as a template (.docx or .pdf). Printed hard-copy letters sent by post are more rare, take more effort and may indicate a greater level of concern. MPs receive the letters to review personally, although their staff may draft a reply. An email or phone call are also effective ways to communicate. Consider asking your friends or family if they have contacted their MP about this, or if they would be interested in reading your letter to your MP.
- Ask for an in-person meeting with your MP to discuss what steps your MP will take to make sure this policy is changed for next year. Even if you have already met once, you can ask for a follow up meeting. The EFC has talking points you could use to help express concerns and propose solutions [link to come].
- Tell the story of how the CSJ change is impacting your church, organization and community. Keeping this story alive through the spring, summer and fall will help bring about changes to next year’s Canada Summer Jobs application.
Here are some ways you might tell the story:
- Send an update to your congregation or supporters that informs them of the new attestation and the impact of losing the summer student grant, such as reduced programs or services for outreach to the community.
- Watch the EFC’s Facebook page and Twitter feed for opportunities to post about the Canada Summer Jobs program, such as the impact summer students have had in your community, photos of past summer programs that will be reduced as a result of the new attestation, and more.
- You may post about how this change has impacted your church, organization and community, on your organization’s social media, e.g. Facebook or Twitter, with the hashtags #CanadaSummerJobs and#CSJ2018. Example 1: We started planning our summer camps today. We’re disappointed that we’ll only be able to offer camp to 50 children this year, down from 100 last year, without the #CanadaSummerJobs grant” #CSJ2018 @TheEFC @PattyHajdu. Example 2: Without the #CanadaSummerJobs grant, we will only be able to offer 50 kids a week of fun, half as many as last year. #CSJ2018 @TheEFC @PattyHajdu
- Listen and post the links to EFC’s podcasts with groups affected by the Canada Summer Jobs change. These short, simple interviews are effective tools to help people understand the impact, one church and community at a time.
- Write a letter to the editor or submit an op-ed to your local paper about how the change to the CSJ application has impacted your church, organization and community.
Find more EFC resources on Canada Summer Jobs at TheEFC.ca/SummerJobs.
Author: Julia Beazley