Update – Changes To The Canada Summer Job Program

Many of you have contacted the CBAC regarding your concerns over the changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program. As the deadline to apply for Canada Summer Jobs quickly approaches (February 2nd, 2018), we know you are considering what you should do.

Update (January 25/18):
We are grateful we had the opportunity to speak directly to the Honourable Patty Hajdu (Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour) yesterday regarding the attestation in the Canada Summer Job application. She clarified their concern is that organizations should not, nor ask students to, engage in any activities that undermine rights in Canada. We understand this concern and continue to call for respect for the rights of all Canadians. This clarification may help some of you decide what to do with your Canada Summer Job application.

However, the wording of the attestation remains unchanged and still refers to an organization’s core mandate. We understand that it is difficult, even inauthentic, for faith-based organizations to separate their mandate from their activities, actions, practices, speech or values. For many of our churches, camps and programs their mandate is along the lines of “making disciples of Jesus” which informs all actions, activities, teaching, leadership requirements and conversations, including activities and discussions around the value of life at all life stages and sexual integrity.

We continue to make the following recommendations (listed below). We invite you to wisely assess this issue and follow God and your conscience. We are thankful we were able to express your concerns and the good work you do in our communities directly to Minister Patty Hajdu. We invite you to pray for Minister Patty Hajdu as she leads these difficult conversations and makes important decisions. Continue to be in prayer for our government.

Here is the link to the clarification provided on the Canada Summer Job attestation https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/funding/canada-summer-jobs/supplementary-information.html

Here is what we are recommending:

Step 1 – Read about the issue.

  • Read the attestation carefully and consider with your leadership/board if you are comfortable signing it. We have heard from a number of churches and faith-based organizations that they are not comfortable signing it. We, at CBAC, have two main concerns about the attestation.
    1. In order to receive funding an organization has to attest to specific beliefs of the Liberal Party of Canada;
    2. What it may mean for freedom of religion and conscience in Canada. We have heard that many of our churches/ministries in good conscience cannot sign the attestation, therefore the Liberal government is inadvertently affecting all the good community programs you and other faith-based organizations have been doing and is inadvertently decreasing the number of jobs for students.

Please note that the attestation has not changed since it was posted December 19th.  It can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/funding/canada-summer-jobs.html.

The paper application, with the details of the attestation found on page 3 under the Articles of Agreement, section 12.0 in the document; it can be found here: https://catalogue.servicecanada.gc.ca/apps/EForms/pdf/en/ESDC-EMP5396A.pdf

Also, further details can be found in the Applicant Guide: https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/canada/employment-social-development/services/funding/canada-summer-jobs/CSJ2018_applicant_guide.pdf

  • Inform yourself further regarding the concerns over these changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program.

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) has written some helpful information. We commend it to you for understanding the concerns more clearly. https://www.evangelicalfellowship.ca/Topics/Religious-Freedom-in-Canada/Canada-Summer-Jobs-Grants-Policy-Change.

The EFC is also hosting an interactive webinar about this on January 25th @ 1pm AST. Here’s the link to register for that: https://www.evangelicalfellowship.ca/Communications/Articles/January-2018/Summer-job-grants-controversy-Watch-our-January.

The Canadian Council of Christian Charities has frequently asked questions and information about the changes to the Canada Summer Jobs Program. https://www.cccc.org/news_blogs/barry/2018/01/03/important-notice-about-the-canada-summer-jobs-program/

If, after reviewing the attestation, you are comfortable signing the document, proceed with your application. However, if after reviewing the attestation you cannot in good conscience sign it, we would recommend taking one of two options (Option A or B) and then following steps 2 through 4.

Option A – Do not apply for a Canada Summer Grant and proceed to step 2, to be sure your concerns are heard by your Member of Parliament, so that they understand why you are not applying and that you are losing funding.

Option B – Apply for the Canada Summer Grant, but do NOT use the online version as it will not let you proceed if you do not sign the attestation. Instead apply using the paper option and make a note of your concerns and interpretation of the attestation requirement. The Canadian Council of Christian Charities has recommended writing the following in the margin of your paper application:

On the basis of religious conscience, we are not prepared to express the words that the Minister has required in the Applicant’s Guide. We attest that we are committed to upholding our obligations under all Canadian law, including Charter and human rights law.” We believe the Minister does not have the jurisdiction under law to compel someone to make a statement or adopt a belief, especially one that conflicts with our [religious] conscience under the Charter as a condition for receipt of funding. Nor does the Minister have the right to compel speech as a condition of receiving a financial benefit from the government of Canada. We respectfully decline to make a statement that is inconsistent with our fundamental constitutionally protected personal beliefs including those about the value of life and the right to life under section 7 of the Charter, and about the freedom of religion as guaranteed in s. 2(a). Please accept our application with the above-noted statement in substitution for the statement set forth in the online application process and in the Applicant’s Guide.

Step 2Contact your local Member of Parliament – You can find out who your MP is here http://www.ourcommons.ca/Parliamentarians/en/members.

Your MP may tell you that this attestation does not automatically eliminate churches/faith-organizations from receiving money. While that is true, it does eliminate a church/ministry that cannot in good conscience sign the attestation. Make sure your MP understands your concerns and how it will affect the programs you have been offering the community and affect student jobs.  Make sure to let them know if it means you did not apply for a grant or applied via a paper application. We have provided a sample letter anyone in our CBAC family could use to write their local MP (Download Word document: https://baptist-atlantic.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Sample-Letter-CSJ-final.docx).

Step 3 – Come up with a Short-Term Plan – Come up with creative short-term solutions for this summer to allow, as much as possible, the programs and hiring of students to continue. You could consider finding funding through:

  1. Seeking local Provincial or community grants
  2. Reworking your church/ministry budget
  3. Inviting individuals to give money specifically towards summer student ministry for 2018, to get through this sudden change by our government

Step 4 – Come up with a Long-Term Plan – Begin planning for future years without being able to count on government funding. Please find ways to continue the great work of leadership development and community work that takes places through your summer ministries. We too, at CBAC, are brainstorming solutions.

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