The Canada Summer Jobs program provides wage subsidies to employers to create employment for secondary and post-secondary students.
In 2018, the Government of Canada is now requiring employers to attest that the job and their core mandate do not discriminate on the basis of religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Furthermore, the employer must affirm respect for “values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights”, including abortion.
If an employer is unable to affirm this, the application will be considered void.
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) and the Canadian Council of Christian Charities (CCCC) are concerned that the wording may also mean religious organizations will not be able to hire only students who share their faith. This is in tension with provincial human rights codes which allow religious organizations such as churches, religious camps, and religious schools to hire only individuals who share their faith commitments.
The EFC has just posted a short video in which EFC Executive VP David Guretzki urges Canadians to take immediate action by meeting with or contacting your Minister of Parliament (MP) to make your concerns known. MPs are in their ridings now through the end of January.
The EFC is also giving a webinar on January 25th at 9:00am (noon EST) to answer questions and concerns about how this change may impact you. Click here for more information and to register for free.
The video and other EFC resources are available at theEFC.ca/SummerJobsGrants. They include:
- Latest two-minute video (Jan. 3, 2018)
- Answers to frequently asked questions about this issue
- Sample letters to contact your MP
- The EFC sent a letter to the Hon. Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour (Dec. 22, 2017). It expresses dismay at how the guidelines violate fundamental Charter of Rights and Freedom guarantees and urges the government “to amend the Canada Summer Jobs application process to allow religious organizations to stay true to their communal identity and beliefs.”
- Initial two-minute video (Dec. 20, 2017)
What can you do?
It is vitally important that if you would like to hire summer students, you do apply to the program as usual, but apply using the paper option, NOT the online option. That way, you can add margin notes to your application, and the government will know you have applied. Details about how to complete the application are in the FAQ blog post below , along with two requests.
- FAQs: The CCCC has received many emails and phone calls about this issue and have responded to common questions here.
- Keep the CCCC and EFC Informed: Please email the CCCC or email the EFC about the success of your application for a Canada Summer Jobs program grant for 2018. They want to keep track the impact of this change.
- Application Denied? If you have received funding in the past but in 2018 it is denied because of your refusal to accept the government’s attestation, please email the CCCC office regarding next steps.
The sample letters above offer contact information and possible wording that you can use to contact your MP and Minister Hajdu to let them know how this will impact you and your ability to serve your community. One of the most effective ways to communicate is by meeting with your MP while they are in their riding this month.
Finally, please urge other believers in your community to pray for religious freedom in Canada to be protected and respected, for our churches and ministries to be able to continue to work for the good of our society without hindrance, and for God to be glorified. Please pray and ask God to lead and provide for these organizations as they determine how to respond to the government’s recent policy change.
Date and Time
Jan 25, 2018
9:00am PST, 12pm EST