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What’s ahead in Parliament in 2022

04 January 2022
The prime minister released ministerial mandate letters in December. These letters are like a To Do list or set of instructions. They outline the PM’s priorities and tasks for each cabinet minister during this mandate. They give some indications of what may come before Parliament in the new session of Parliament, perhaps as soon as this year.
 
This is a sample of the issues mentioned in the mandate letters. Please pray with us about the following government plans:


Conversion therapy

The conversion therapy ban comes into force on January 7. Bill C-4 was passed without study or amendment, and without recorded objection in both the House of Commons and the Senate. The justice minister and others have been asked to build on the passage of Bill C-4 to “continue to ensure that Canadian justice policy protects the dignity and equality of LGBTQ2 Canadians.”

The EFC is working with partner organizations on an analysis of Bill C-4 for churches, to be released as soon as it is finalized, and will closely monitor the interpretation and application of the ban. www.TheEFC.ca/C-4.


Online hate/online harms

The justice minister has been asked to:
Continue efforts with the Minister of Canadian Heritage to develop and introduce legislation as soon as possible to combat serious forms of harmful online content to protect Canadians and hold social media platforms and other online services accountable for the content they host, including by strengthening the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to more effectively combat online hate and reintroduce measures to strengthen hate speech provisions, including the re-enactment of the former Section 13 provision. This legislation should be reflective of the feedback received during the recent consultations.

The EFC is closely monitoring this issue. The EFC submitted a brief to a federal government consultation on addressing online harm in September 2021 and a brief to the justice committee study on online hate in 2019.


Charitable status of anti-abortion organizations that provide dishonest counselling

 
The finance minister has been asked to work with the minister for women and gender equality to:
Introduce amendments to the Income Tax Act to make anti-abortion organizations that provide dishonest counselling to pregnant women about their rights and options ineligible for charitable status….

The EFC wrote to the finance minister on November 30, 2021, to express deep concern and ask for clarification on these plans. For more information and a sample MP letter, see www.TheEFC.ca/CharitableProLife.


Supply chain human rights

One positive initiative to highlight is that the minister of labour has been asked to:
introduce legislation to eradicate forced labour from Canadian supply chains and ensure that Canadian businesses operating abroad do not contribute to human rights abuses.


Reconciliation

As well, each minister’s mandate letter underlines the need to further the work of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples:
 
This year, Canadians were horrified by the discovery of unmarked graves and burial sites near former residential schools. These discoveries underscore that we must move faster on the path of reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples. We know that reconciliation cannot come without truth and our Government will continue to invest in that truth. As Ministers, each of us has a duty to further this work, both collectively and as individuals. Consequently, I am directing every Minister to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to work in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to advance their rights.

The specific objectives outlined for each minister differ according to their portfolio.

The EFC’s Indigenous Relations webpage describes our commitments to move towards reconciliation and provides resources for individuals and congregations.


And more

The mandate letters cover many topics, including plans to ensure access to “sexual and reproductive services,” to increase inclusion and supports for people with disabilities, and much more.
 
The next session of Parliament will be busy. Please pray for God’s grace and discernment in tackling complex policies.