What has changed is that the government is now requiring employers to attest that the job and their core mandate do not discriminate on the basis of religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Furthermore, they must affirm respect for “values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights” including abortion.
If an employer is unable to affirm this, the application will be considered void.
We are concerned that the wording may also mean religious organizations will not be able to hire only students who share their faith. This is in tension with provincial human rights codes which allow religious organizations such as churches, religious camps and religious schools to hire only individuals who share their faith commitments.
The EFC has just posted a short video in which EFC Executive VP David Guretzki urges Canadians to take immediate action by meeting with or contacting our MPs to make our concerns known. MPs are in their ridings now through the end of January.
The new video, and other new EFC resources on the issue, are available at TheEFC.ca/SummerJobsGrants. They include:
- Latest two-minute video (Jan. 3, 2018)
- Answers to frequently asked questions about this issue (4 page PDF, Jan. 3, 2018)
- Sample letters to contact your MP (in .docx format, updated Jan. 3, 2018)
- The EFC sent a letter to the Hon. Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour (Dec. 22, 2017). It expresses dismay at how the guidelines violate fundamental Charter of Rights and Freedom guarantees and urges the government “to amend the Canada Summer Jobs application process to allow religious organizations to stay true to their communal identity and beliefs.”
- Initial two-minute video (Dec. 20, 2017)
What can you do?
The sample letters above offer contact information and possible wording that you can use to contact your MP and Minister Hajdu to let them know how this will impact you and your ability to serve your community. One of the most effective ways to communicate is by meeting with your MP while they are in their riding this month.
Finally, please urge other believers in your community to pray for religious freedom in Canada to be protected and respected, for our churches and ministries to be able to continue to work for the good of our society without hindrance, and for God to be glorified.