January 26, 2018




TORONTO - Eighty-seven religious leaders, including Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins, have called on the Canadian government to strike down a new policy that forces organizations seeking summer jobs grants to accept the pro abortion and gender policies of the Liberal Party.

"The promise of a free and democratic society is that there be no religious or ideological test or conditions to receiving government benefit or protection," said a Jan. 25 statement signed by Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders.

Cardinal Collins, speaking on behalf of Canada's Catholic bishops, said religious groups want to continue working with the government on a program that provides funding to hire students to work at a wide range of small business, Church and charitable organizations during the summer.

"Nobody here is trying to start any conflict," Cardinal Collins said at a joint press conference with other faith leaders at St. Benedict's Catholic Church in Toronto. "We follow the law, the Charter of Rights and the human rights codes. What more do you want?"

Employment Minister Patty Hajdu told an Ottawa news conference later the same day that her government has no intention of removing the attestation or changing the wording to address the concerns of the religious leaders. She continued to stress the government would refuse to fund any organization that, in her opinion, disputes a woman's "right" to abortion as part of the organization's core mandate.

The issue arose last summer when pro-abortion groups protested that some grants from the $220 million Canada Summer Jobs program were going to pro-life organizations whose activities included distributing graphic anti-abortion pamphlets. In response, the government changed the rules this year. Applicants must now sign an attestation that many interpret as being nothing more than a blanket approval of the government's abortion and gender identity policies.

Hadju said the purpose of the change is not to deny religious and charitable organizations access to funding, but to ensure that funding "should never go to pay for work that seeks to remove Canadian rights - like a woman's right to chose, or LGBTQ2 rights." Canadian law permits abortion at any time during a pregnancy.

Collins is convinced the government didn't intend to upset such a wide swath of religious Canadians.

"If the government has a problem with a particular group doing something they disagree with, they should talk to those groups," Collins said. "The handing out of graphic anti-abortion material is very troubling, I know.

"To have a wide open ideological test for everybody, which we cannot in conscience sign, that's just not fair."

In an attempt to quell the growing criticism of the funding policy, Hajdu made personal phone calls Jan. 22-23 to a number of organizations, including the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), and added a supplementary guide to define what is meant by "core mandate." As long as an organization's "primary activities" do not include pro-life advocacy or discrimination against minorities, an application will be accepted, she said. However, the applicant still must tick a box to attest general support of the government's abortion and gender policies.

Canada's bishops remain "seriously concerned."

"The attestation and examples still amount to the government's coercion on matters of conscience and religious belief," said a statement from the CCCB's communications director Rene Laprise. "They foreclose the possibility of wide ranging views and even healthy disagreement. The attestation remains unacceptable."

Rabbi Chaim Strauchler emphasized how troubling it is for Jews to see the government impose an ideological or values test on any minority.

"We have been a minority throughout history. We are very sensitive to the possibility of the majority trying to impose values, even if we agree with those values... (forcing people) to believe or to act in a certain way not in accord with their basic values," Strauchler said.

St. Benedict's parish is home to a summer day camp in a neighbourhood with many low income families. Grade 10 student Natalia Opara has been a camp counsellor at St. Benedict's for two years, following eight years as a camper.

"It feels like a family when I walk through the door. I only get to see some of these people one month every year," said Opara.

Opara worries about the families who might be denied an affordable summer camp this July.

"It feels pretty good to help some of the families," Opara said.

Bruce Clemenger, president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, said more than 1,500 Evangelical projects have received government funding in the past.

"The government has placed us in an untenable position," he said.

"We're worried about the future, not just now," said Imam Refaat Mohamed of the Canadian Council of Imams.

Ideological tests, if allowed, could be used in other ways if it is permitted for this issue, said Mohamed.

"We love the differences we have in Canada. We are very proud of who we are. We are really proud of who we are. And we should always respect those with different beliefs," Mohamed said.

Other Informative Articles can be read at:

LifeSiteNews and Toronto Archdiocese and CCCB among others



TED FALK, Member of Parliament for Provencher, will be holding a townhall meeting to discuss the recent attack by the Federal Government on religious freedoms in Canada. Faith groups across the country have expressed serious concern about the newest Government policy which has recently been imposed on applicants to the Canada Summer Jobs program.* With the sweeping and unexpected policy, groups and organizations that do not agree with particular ideological positions will no longer be eligible to receive funding for a summer student (!?) Summer camps, daycares, and homeless shelters run by churches or faith-based organizations will all be affected. If you would like to learn more about this intentional targeting of faith groups, where it could eventually lead, and what you can do about it, you are welcome to attend the upcoming town hall meeting on Monday, February 5th.


Date: Monday February 5, 2018

Time: 7 pm

Location: CanadInns - 826 Regent Ave W - Ambassador Room B

For planning purposes, it would be appreciated if you could RSVP if you are considering attending. Email

204 326-9889

* BACKGROUND: The Canada Summer Jobs program provides funding to assist employers, including not-for-profit organizations that create summer job opportunities for full-time students. Students benefit by gaining valuable employment and work experience and communities benefit from the important services provided by these organizations. The Liberal Government changed the rules of the program to require applicants to sign an attestation agreeing with the present government party's ideological positions or be rejected for government funding.

View More News

Unite Interactive