Life on the front porch

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How I am responding to the Canada Summer Jobs Grant Controversy

4 Comments

Thank you so much to the many of you who have asked about how we (in my current work with Living Bible Explorers) is responding to the Canada Summer Jobs Grants controversy. If you’re not aware, the government of Canada has introduced a “small change” to the grant application process this year that has many religious groups and other groups concerned about personal freedoms in Canada.
IMG_4192

Crafting at the Fall Retreat with our LBE girls

In short, the application requires that each organization sign an attestation that states:
Both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect 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.

From LBE’s perspective, this is not something that we can morally sign nor do we feel is legal for the government to ask us to sign.  In the words of Ted Falk (MP for the riding of Provenchier) “The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms exists to protect the people from its government, not the government from its people.”

What the grant does for us:

– Each summer we hire 10-20 young adults to run camps and activities for children and teens in LBE programs. Without these grants many of our summer employees would have to choose between volunteering with us and working another job to earn money for their studies. This particular grant has provided up to 4 of the grants we receive each summer.

How has LBE responded?

– We have applied for 6 positions this year, including camp, administration and outreach workers.
– We then printed the application, modified the attestation (we stroked out the offending paragraph and initialled it), attached a letter stating our belief that the minister did not have the authority to cause us to make this values attestation, then signed the attestation.
– Finally we sent a paper copy of the application to both Service Canada and our Member of Parliament, Robert Falcon-Ouelette.
– all of this is outlined on www.cccc.org

How can you also respond?

  1. If your church or organization has not yet applied, please do so. The deadline has been extended to February 9, 2018.
  2. Write a friendly letter to our MP encouraging him to proceed with the grant as submitted by LBE.
  3. Write to the Right Honorable Justin Trudeau and the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, to indicate your disappointment with their decision and respectfully ask them to rescind their decision on requiring the attestation. If you write a paper letter there is no need to attach a stamp.
This is the only grant that a Member of Parliament has direct control over how it is distributed in their riding. Each MP receives a list of grant applicants and the list of those that the bureaucrats recommended to be distributed. The MP can change the allocation of any of these grants (though they cannot increase the total value to their constituency).
Finally, whether the government approves our grant applications or not, we still have great influence over which charities receive funding from the federal government. Your gifts to LBE directly decrease your tax load at the CRA (you receive up to 46% of your charitable giving back in the form of a tax credit to reduce the taxes that you spend).
Thank you for praying with us and for taking action to bring Good News to our neighbourhoods.

BTW

Letters to Members of Parliament are influential. They may be mailed (without at stamp) to:
Name of your MP
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada
K1A 0A6
Emails of note:
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Author: Robb Massey

I'm a husband, dad, pastor and a coach. I love following Jesus, riding my bike and having fun with my family. We live in wonderful Winnipeg, Manitoba in the prairie heartland of Canada

4 thoughts on “How I am responding to the Canada Summer Jobs Grant Controversy

  1. And the update: we were refused. It seems that we need to split hairs and understand that we can separate our values from our core mandate.

    While it is unlikely that groups who do not favour tolerating religious freedoms will have no problem signing this attestation, we cannot. So now it’s a matter for lawyer, judges and politicians.

    • I’m proud of you for following these recommendations. I believe we did something similar.

      The Charter challenges this government is going to face are going to be numerous, and well-deserved. They’ll lose every single one. Sadly, it just means the settlement – if there is any – will come out of our taxes, but the point will have been made.

  2. Good for taking a stand and not compromising on this.

  3. It’s a matter of conscience for sure. Next is what? Sign this attestation to participate in EI? Parental Leave? Get your tax return?

    I know it’s just words, but if words didn’t matter, there would be no attestation in the first place.

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