Summer jobs confusion

There has been some confusion and misunderstanding regarding changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program for students that deserve clarification.
This confusion has arisen because the Trudeau Liberal government inserted a mandatory values test into the application process.

Applicants must attest that their organization's core mandate supports values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

This seems like an innocent change, but the Liberal government also included a number of other rights to the list, including reproductive rights.
It is the demand to attest to reproductive rights that has created confusion and in some cases strong disagreement.
Why the confusion and disagreement?

Essentially because the Charter of Rights and Freedoms contains no language specifically related to reproductive rights.

The Supreme Court struck down laws around this area and, in the absence of any new laws, created a legal vacuum.
That said, the Charter does protect freedom of conscience and religion.

Many faith groups that hold pro-life views feel their charter rights are being discriminated against in these changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program for students.
To be fair to the changes to the Canada Summer Job's guidelines, there is a disclaimer that states “an organization that is affiliated with a religion does not itself constitute ineligibility for this program.” 

I view this as a positive indicator, given that faith groups perform many valuable community services, such as running soup kitchens, youth programs, sponsoring private refugees and other community charity related activities that help our most vulnerable.
The challenge is that many organizations of faith that may not necessarily be excluded from the summer jobs program are reluctant to apply due to their belief that the new restrictions discriminate against those who have pro-life views.  
Although I am clearly not a member of the Liberal government, I believe these changes were intended to prevent organizations that actively campaign for laws against the termination of a pregnancy from being eligible to receive summer student job funding.

Herein is another challenge because the right to oppose abortion is also protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The bottom line is the Trudeau Liberals have politicized the Canada Summer Jobs program for students jobs by deciding certain charter rights have priority over others.

These kinds of decisions often end up before our Supreme Court.

As I write this week’s report, I believe a legal action against these changes may already be underway.
My question this week:

  • Do you agree with the changes to the Canada Summer Jobs  program for students, that reinterprets the Charter in this way?

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.


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About the Author

Dan Albas, Conservative member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, is the shadow minister of innovation, science, economic development and internal trade, and sits on the standing committee on finance.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

In British Columbia, Dan has been consistently one of the lowest spending MPs on office and administration related costs despite operating two offices to better serve local constituents.

Dan is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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