- A federal court judge has granted the government's request to hear one group's challenge of the problematic attestation in the 2018 Canada Summer Jobs application. Seven other groups, including three EFC affiliates, will have their challenges of the attestation put on hold until the challenge by Toronto Right to Life is decided.
- The EFC wrote to the employment minister asking for clarification on terms such as intolerance, discrimination and prejudice in the new application (Jan. 11, 2019).
- The EFC’s analysis is now available. It examines three elements in the 2019 application: New wording for the Employer's Attestation that replaces the unacceptable values test from 2018; New criteria for Ineligible Projects and Job Activities which disqualify organizations that engage primarily or solely in pro-life advocacy work; and a Required Description of Hiring Practices to ensure an inclusive workplace free of discrimination (six-page PDF, 3 Jan. 2019)
- In the first week of December 2018 the government announced a revised application for the Canada Summer Jobs program in response to complaints from the EFC and many other organizations. Soon after, the application form, Applicant Guide and Articles of Agreement were posted online. The EFC responded in a statement Dec. 7, 2018 expressing pleasure and encouragement that the values test has been dropped from the Canada Summer Jobs program (and see related video statement, below). Related media reports: National Post, Macleans, Canadian Press, CBC, Canadian Catholic News.
Key Resources and Updates
- An explanatory introduction to this issue and a set of older resources can be found lower down on this page.
- Employment Minister Hajdu held consultations in fall 2018 with MPs and stakeholders on changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program for 2019. The EFC encouraged supporters to contact their MP regarding the attestation and ask for changes. See our sample letter to an MP (June 12, 2018) as either .docx or .pdf
- Letter to Government Calling for Substantive Change to the CSJ Attestation, June 26, 2018
- Update on the Canada Summer Jobs Program from the EFC, June 12, 2018
- Talking points to help you explain the main CSJ issues to your MP or someone else. Choose your format: .docx or .pdf (June 12, 2018)
- EFC letter sent to MPs (June 12, 2018)
- Interfaith Update on Canada Summer Jobs Program (March 28, 2018)
- Why the summer jobs attestation is unacceptable, by EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger (Feb. 6, 2018)
- Interfaith statement from 90 religious leaders with related comments by EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger (Jan. 25, 2018)
Popular Older Resources
- A story of faithfulness with Canada Summer Jobs, a Faith Today blog post by Dave Addison of Toronto City Mission (Nov. 20, 2018)
- Three questions on summer grant announcements for 2018 (May 14, 2018)
- 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.
Other Older Resources
- 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 (Feb. 12, 2018)
- Canada Summer Jobs: How to respond to application rejection, one-minute video (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. 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 stories about how changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program will hurt Canadian society on Facebook and Twitter and on our website
- 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
- EFC letter to the Hon. Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour (Dec. 22, 2017)
- Initial two-minute EFC video (Dec. 20, 2017)
Introduction and Background to the Issue
The federal government introduced new requirements in 2017 for employers applying for the Canada Summer Jobs grant. To be eligible to receive this grant, employers began to be required to attest that both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect certain “values” as determined by the federal government.
Specifically, the 2018 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 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.