The Canada Summer Jobs program

Some may wonder what the “kerfuffle” is about, and assert that, in 2018, it is not unreasonable to expect Canadians to get in line with contemporary values. That may be satisfactory as long as one’s ideological allies form the government of the day. But what happens when a new government articulates a contrary set of “values”?
— Derek Ross

The Federal Government has made changes to the application process for the Canada Summer Jobs grant program. Based on the new process, it appears that all applicant organizations, regardless of their activities and purposes, must attest that their “core mandate” agrees with the government’s position on access to abortion, among other issues, which many religious organizations and small businesses may not be able to do. 

For more information, take a look at four articles written by CLF counsel that were published within the last month:

Derek Ross & Sarah Mix-Ross, "Labelling pro-life views as ‘anti-Charter’ is wrong – and sets a dangerous precedent", CBA National (23 February 2018)

"If there is one hard won right the Charter protects, it’s the freedom to express ideas without reprisal – including those that challenge the accepted view – in a sincere effort to build a more just society. This doesn’t mean that the government must fund advocacy groups, but if it chooses to fund some and not others, its reasons for doing so must be both honest and justifiable – the bare assertion that pro-life views are incompatible with human rights is insufficient on both counts."

Derek Ross, "Religious Discrimination in Canada"Public Discourse (11 February 2018)

"Canada takes pride in being a progressive nation, but our government is relying on the same tired excuses for religious discrimination that the United States Supreme Court dismissed more than fifty years ago."

Derek Ross, "Childcare, Summer Jobs, and religious discrimination in Canada" Ontario Bar Association (17 January 2018)

"Compelling religious minorities to publicly affirm 'values' contrary to their conscience – in the name of the Charter which specifically protects against such compulsion – epitomizes intolerance and illiberalism."

Derek Ross, "Opinion: Public funding should be religion-neutral"Montreal Gazette (15 January 2018)

"We should all be deeply concerned when state actors insist that private citizens support their philosophical worldview — or any particular worldview, for that matter — as a precondition to equal treatment."


On these issues, see the Interfaith Statement, signed by religious leaders across Canada (including CLF's Derek Ross):

"Canada is known and widely respected as a religiously plural and multicultural society. Respect for the diversity of beliefs of all Canadians and meaningful engagement with those who hold differing beliefs is essential to maintaining a robust democracy. Please ensure that Canadians continue to benefit from collaboration between governments and faith-based organizations working together for the common good of our country."