Interfaith Statement on Changes to the Canada Summer Jobs Grant Program

Interfaith Statement on Changes to the Canada Summer Jobs Grant Program

The following is taken from the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada website … we include it here so that our members may be aware and informed of issues affecting Christians in our nation.

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Dear Prime Minister/Minister Hajdu,

Re. Changes to the Canada Summer Jobs Grant Program

We the undersigned leaders of diverse faith communities and organizations in Canada, call on the Prime Minister and the Government of Canada to amend the Canada Summer Jobs guidelines and application process so that it does not compel agreement or belief, and allows religious organizations to stay true to their communal identity and beliefs. The new application requires each organization to give non-negotiable and unqualified affirmation of certain beliefs held by the current government.

Canada has a long history of cooperation and collaboration between religious organizations and governments in our health care and social welfare systems, and in many other areas of life.

Faith-based organizations wish to continue to partner with the federal government in delivering programming and services to vulnerable members of their local communities, including children and youth, newcomers to Canada, and people experiencing poverty and homelessness.

However, with the changes to the Canada Summer Jobs guidelines, many organizations will be deemed ineligible because they are unable or unwilling to attest that their “core mandate” and beliefs align with the current government’s position. These groups are being denied equal access to a government benefit solely because of their religious beliefs or conscientious objection.

In managing its programs, the government should respect and accommodate the diversity of values and beliefs within Canadian society and must itself abide by the Charter in its treatment of individuals and groups. The fundamental freedoms of conscience and religion, thought, belief, opinion and expression, as guaranteed in the Charter, must be respected and affirmed in legislation, regulations and policy.

The promise of a free and democratic society is that there be no religious or ideological tests or conditions to receiving government benefits or protection.

The changes to the Canada Summer Jobs guidelines and application not only violate the fundamental freedoms of faith-based organizations, they also significantly impact the broader communities served by their programs, often the most vulnerable in Canadian society.

Canada is known and widely respected as a religiously plural and multicultural society. Respect for the diversity of beliefs of all Canadians and meaningful engagement with those who hold differing beliefs is essential to maintaining a robust democracy. Please ensure that Canadians continue to benefit from collaboration between governments and faith-based organizations working together for the common good of our country.

Sincerely,

Dave Addison, Executive Director
Toronto City Mission
Rev. Tim McCoy, Executive Minister
Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec
Rabea Allos
Canadian Middle Eastern Christian Congress
Dr. Stephen W. Martin, Associate Professor of Theology
The King’s University
Adriana Bara, Executive Director
Canadian Centre for Ecumenism
Kevin McKay, President
Partners International Canada
Mr. Kerry Belt, President
Rocky Mountain College
Rev. Paul J. McPhail, General Secretary
Independent Assemblies of God International (Canada)
James Beerley, DCD, President
Crossworld Canada
Rev. Wesley Mills, President
Apostolic Church of Pentecost of Canada Inc.
Rev. Dr. Andrew Bennett
Director, Cardus Law
H.G. Anba Mina, Bishop of
Mississauga, Vancouver and Western Canada
The Coptic Orthodox Church in Canada
Father Daniel Bessada
St. Mary and St. John the Beloved
Coptic Orthodox Church
Dr. Lawson Murray, President
Scripture Union Canada
J.Bryan Born, DTh, President
Columbia Bible College
Dr. Mouhammad Iqbal Nadvi, Chair
Canadian Council of Imams
Wes Carlisle, BA, CPA, Board Chair
Director of Administration
Northwind Family Ministries
Rev. Robert Ogilvie, Executive Minister
Canadian Baptists of Western Canada
Jim Caruso, DMin., Lead Pastor
Richmond Pentecostal Church
Michael B. Pawelke, DMin, President
Briercrest College & Seminary
Bruce J. Clemenger, President
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
Rev. John Pellowe, MBA, DMin, Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Council of Christian Charities
Cardinal Thomas Collins
Archbishop of Toronto
Rabbi Reuben Poupko
Congregation Beth Israel Beth Aharon, Montreal
Executive Member, Canadian Rabbinic Caucus
Bren Cressman, Policy, Media & Research Analyst
Messianic Vision Canada
Rabbinical Council of America
John G. Denbok, Executive Director
SIM Canada
Kervin Raugust, President
Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada
Eric Derksen, President
Vanguard College
Rev. Rick Reed, President
Heritage College & Seminary
Maureen Dinner, MA, Executive Director
The Pregnancy Centre
Geri Rodman, President
Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of Canada
Davide DiSabatino, Lead Pastor
Church in the Hills
Rev. Dr. Darren Roorda, Canadian Ministries Director
Christian Reformed Church in North America
Tim Dyck, General Secretary
Evangelical Mennonite Conference
Derek B.M. Ross, LL.B, LL.M., Executive Director & General Counsel
Christian Legal Fellowship
Edmonton Interfaith Centre for Education & Action Dr. Stephen Roy, President & Dean
Immanuel Bible College
Evangel Chapel
Fort St. John, British Columbia
The Very Reverend Angelos Saad
Church of V. Mary and St. Athanasius
Coptic Orthodox Church
Steve Falkiner, President
Foursquare Gospel Church of Canada
Rev. Dr. David Schrader
National Pastor
Congregational Christian Churches in Canada
Bruce Fawcett, Ph.D.
President and Vice Chancellor
Crandall University
Rev. Lance Schubert, President
Nipawin Bible College
Cliff Fletcher, Bishop
The Free Methodist Church in Canada
André Schutten, HonB.A., LL.B., LL.M.
Legal Counsel & Director of Law and Policy
Association for Reformed Political Action
John Friesen, CEO
Muskoka Bible Centre
Imam Ilyas Sidyot
The Islamic Association of Saskatchewan Saskatoon Inc.
Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Beth Tzedec Congregation, Toronto
Executive Member, Canadian Rabbinic Caucus
Dan Slade, International Director
Partners in Harvest
The Most Reverend Lionel Gendron, P.S.S.
Bishop of Saint-Jean Longueuil
President, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
His Eminence Metropolitan Archbishop Sotirios Primate, Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto & All Canada
Rev. Len Goddard, President
Community Christian Fellowship Church of Canada
Terry Smith, Executive Director
Canadian Baptist Ministries
Graham Greenwood, Executive Pastor
Mill Woods Assembly
His Excellency Bishop Bawai Soro
Chaldean Eparchy of Mar Addai
Randolph Haluza-DeLay, PhD, Sociology
The King’s University
Michael Stone, Lead Pastor
Crossroads Community Church
Rev. David Hearn, President
The Christian & Missionary Alliance in Canada
Philippe Straforelli, Director
Christian Life Assembly
His Grace Bishop Abgar Hovakimian
Primate of the Armenian Holy Apostolic Church, Diocese of Canada
Rabbi Chaim Strauchler
Shaarei Shomayim Congregation
Don Huston, MC, RCC, Lead Pastor
Julia Street Community Church
Gerry Taillon, National Ministry Leader
Canadian National Baptist Convention
Rabbi Jonathan Infeld
Congregation Beth Israel, Vancouver
Executive Member, Canadian Rabbinic Caucus
Bill Taylor, Executive Director
Evangelical Free Church of Canada
Rev. Richard Janes, President
Master’s College & Seminary
Mr. Hani Tawfilis, Community Leader
Coptic Orthodox Community in Canada
Archbishop Shane B. Janzen
The Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (TAC)
Rev. Timothy Teuscher, President
Lutheran Church-Canada
Wayne Johnson, President & CEO
Tearfund Canada
Vaad Harabanim of Toronto
Rabbi Daniel Korobkin
BAYT – Thornhill
Dr. Jason Van Vliet, Principal
Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary
Craig Kraft, Executive Director
Outreach Canada
Fred Verwoerd, CPA, CMA, Interim President
Redeemer University College
Hubert Krygsman, Executive Director
Global Scholars Canada
Ray Wall, President/Superintendent
Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada
Ronald A. Kuipers, President
Institute for Christian Studies
Rev. Gary Walsh, Executive Director
Wesley Acres
Rabbi Debra Landsberg
Temple Emanu-El, Toronto
Executive Member, Canadian Rabbinic Caucus
Rev. David Wells, General Superintendent
The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada
Laura Lewis, MD, CCFP, Executive Director
Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services
Rev. Simon Wong, General Director
Association of Christian Evangelical Ministries (Canada)
Dr. Michel MacDonald, Executive Director
Catholic Organization for Life and Family
His Eminence Metropolitan YURIJ
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
Waldie Neufeld, President
The Peace River Bible Institute
Rev. Michael Zabiran
Worship and Community Life Pastor
Sanctuary Church, Edmonton
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