An explanatory introduction to this issue and a set of older resources can be found lower down on this page.
Other current resources
- Recent EFC podcast interviews: Chad Nickerson of Calvary Temple Church in Saint John, N.B. and Emily Reesor of Fort Langley Evangelical Free Church in B.C. describe how their churches have been responding to the Canada Summer Jobs grant controversy (Mar. 19, 2018)
- Toronto City Mission forges ahead, despite lack of Canada Summer Jobs grant funding, includes link to an EFC Podcast audio interview with the executive director Dave Addison (Mar. 8, 2018)
- Kanata church responds to Canada Summer Job grant controversy, an exemplary letter by a Baptist church to its MP, includes link to an EFC Podcast audio interview with the pastor (Feb. 13, 2018)
- Faith groups not political opponents, by the EFC’s Director of Public Policy Julia Beazley (Winnipeg Free Press, Feb. 7, 2018)
- You may also want to check out recent resources on this issue produced by other groups such as the Canadian Council of Christian Charities.
- Your voice is being heard about the Canada Summer Jobs attestation (March 20, 2018)
- Two-minute video Update and Call to Action (March 13, 2018)
- What can you do about the Canada Summer Jobs program now? (Feb. 27, 2018)
- Three questions on Canada Summer Jobs after the deadline, an update on what’s happening now, with the EFC’s Director of Public Policy Julia Beazley (Feb. 12, 2018)
- Canada Summer Jobs: How to respond to application rejection, one-minute video with EFC President Bruce Clemenger (Feb. 9, 2018)
- Canada Summer Jobs grants - Update at the deadline to apply, two-minute video (Feb. 1, 2018). Note that the application deadline was originally set for Feb. 1, but later extended to Feb. 9)
- Informative interactive EFC webinar from Jan. 25, 2018. The EFC’s Julia Beazley and Barry Bussey of the Canadian Council of Christian Charities discuss the issues and answer your questions.
- The government released supplementary information on January 23, 2018, which provides some clarification about the government’s intent. Some faith-based organizations have found this sufficient to allow them to agree to the attestation. However, the EFC’s significant concerns about the attestation remain.The supplementary information includes definitions of “respect” and “core mandate” as understood by the government. Respect is defined as “not seeking to remove or actively undermine existing rights,” which raises additional questions about what it means to actively undermine. They have also defined “core mandate” as the primary activities of the organization, which fails to recognize that beliefs and activities are integral and inseparable. The wording of the attestation itself remains unchanged, which the EFC finds unacceptable.
- Three options for churches and ministry organizations to respond to the CSJ changes (4 page PDF, Jan. 22, 2018)
- The EFC has been sharing many stories about how changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program will hurt Canadian society on Facebook and Twitter and on our website as groups email them in to us and ask us to make others aware of their situation.
- Two-minute EFC video (Jan. 3, 2018)
- Answers to frequently asked questions about this issue (4 page PDF, Jan. 3, 2018)
- Old sample letter to contact your MP (in .docx format, updated Jan. 3, 2018). See above for newer sample letters
- The EFC sent a letter Dec. 22, 2017 expressing dismay at how the guidelines violate fundamental Charter of Rights and Freedom guarantees. The letter urges the government “to amend the application process to allow religious organizations to stay true to their communal identity and beliefs.” Read the letter to the Hon. Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour.
- Initial two-minute EFC video (Dec. 20, 2017)
Introduction and Background to the Issue
The federal government has introduced new requirements for employers applying for the Canada Summer Jobs grant. To be eligible to receive this grant, employers are now 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 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 introduced in late 2017 means 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.
Further, we are concerned that this requirement could mean that churches or Christian summer camps, for example, will be ineligible to receive the grant if they wish to hire only students that share their religious beliefs.
These changes in eligibility are having a major impact on a wide range of Christian ministries, organizations and programs. But even more seriously, we believe these changes are a violation of the guaranteed freedoms of religion, thought, belief, opinion and association offered by Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, especially the provisions under Section 2.