What you think about women's reproductive rights may well determine if you can get a summer job under the Canada Summer Job Program.
The program, which provides financial support to organizations and businesses hiring young people between sixteen and thirty, now has a requirement that the hiring party “attest” that the organizations core mandate respect human rights in Canada, including “the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 'as well as other rights.'”
The application goes on to identify these other rights to “include reproductive rights.” Anyone not making this declaration on the application is likely to be denied their funding. And I can only presume that any group willing to make such a declaration would only hire students in agreement with the policy as well.
As expected, many faith-based organizations are concerned they will not be able to offer their programs because they will be unable to make this declaration and receive funding. One of the most common concerns is what happens to church camps across the country?
This requirement places a values test on the organization which has no place in Canadian society. Certainly, any group seeking funding from the federal government for their programs should confirm they will abide by all the requirements of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. But a values test which imposes rights beyond the charter is wrong and should never be part of the process.
During the recent Conservative Party of Canada leadership race, I wrote against the proposed “Values Test” offered by candidate Kelly Leitch because of its restrictive nature. This Liberal test is equally wrong in its attempts to expand party values into required rights.
Frank Likely is a retired Anglican minister and past president of the Springhill and Area Chamber of Commerce.